Suicide ’not genetic’
Two Tokoroa women who see racism as a leading cause of Ma¯ ori suicide have presented at a major conference in Rotorua at the weekend.
Launa-anne Smith and Maria Bradshaw travelled to Rotorua to speak to about their experiences and help prevent further deaths through their suicide prevention group CASPA (Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education & Research).
The pair spoke about ‘‘Addressing Racism as a Driver of Youth Suicide’’ with Smith delivering her story on a personal level.
Her son Lani-kohurangi Gore took his own life.
‘‘Statistics for Ma¯ori suicide are so much higher then other populations in New Zealand, and a lot of that is driven not by mental illness but by racism,’’ Bradshaw said.
John Read, a psychology Professor from Auckland University, surveyed psychiatrists on their attitudes towards Ma¯ori in the mental health system.
‘‘Sixty per cent of white male psychiatrists throughout New Zealand believe that Ma¯ ori are genetically predisposed to suicide,’’ Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw and Smith said they wanted to deliver the message that suicide was not a genetic mental illness.
Their aim was to reduce suicide and make people aware.
‘‘Statistics for Ma¯ ori suicide are so much higher then other populations in New Zealand, and a lot of that is driven not by mental illness but by racism.’’ Maria Bradshaw
Maria Bradshaw and Launa-anne Smith presented at a major conference on suicide in Rotorua.