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Depression and Suicidality taking hold / Tukaki calls on 5 million to address it

Depression and Suicidality taking hold / Tukaki calls on 5 million to address it

The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has pleaded with all New Zealanders to keep a watch out for “their own well-being and that of their neighbours and families”. Tukaki who is also a former Chair of Suicide Prevention Australia has said that this has to be the single biggest periods of challenge for New Zealanders since the great depression and “much more so than the Global Financial Crisis”.

“Over the last few weeks I have been travelling right across the country meeting with whanau and communities and I can tell you many of them say to me one of their greatest challenges is fear of the future. Many have lost their jobs, their small businesses are at risk and that plays into the daily struggles of life. The truth is many people may not have ever experienced a period in their lives that they have lost their jobs, can’t afford to put on the table or even have enough money to pay for their basic bills. This in turn creates a huge amount of stress, financial distress, depression and anxiety” Tukaki said.

“We already know from the food banks that people have been seeking support that have never ever sought it before and judging by the increasing calls to helplines the problem about mental health and well being is only now just emerging in numbers. Added to that is Infometrics' Brad Olsen who has said that we could face a second wave of unemployment of more than 80,000. In all reality when it comes to Maori if the unemployment rate hits a projected 8-10% the Maori rate is more likely to be 12-14%”.

“That is why today the National Maori Authority is launching a new campaign called “its alright to korero”. There are three approaches to the campaign. The first is to create awareness that no matter what you might be going through help and support is here, there are organisations and whanau who can help. The second is to create awareness around recognising the signs that someone might be in trouble, how to have a conversation and what to do next. The third is try as much as possible to refer them to the very people who can help – not just endless conversation or chatter – that means help with debt, help with relationships, help with the banks, help with jobs and employment. We must be in the prevention business and I can tell you as someone who has been in mental health for a long time prevention is the key – the last thing we want to see is more New Zealanders taking their lives. We already have the highest rate of suicide amongst Maori men per head of population anywhere in the world”. Tukaki said

A poster campaign will run across social media beginning from today with access to resources @

“I know there are a lot of whanau, a lot of New Zealanders, out there doing it tough. Can I say this is a glitch – this is an extraordinary period in our history but what we cannot fall prey to his the despair that this sort of thing brings. Whether young or old, somewhere in the middle, there is always a solution to a problem we might face. We have been a team of five million on COVID19 now lets be a team of five million once more – this time to support those in our communities who might be doing it tough” Tukaki said

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