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Suicide prevention focus at seminar

Thursday January 31, 2019 Written by Published in Health
Suicide prevention focus at seminar

About 60 people attended a suicide prevention workshop based on the “Flo Talanoa” module, which is centered on regular interaction between the communities, at Sinai Hall on Tuesday.

The workshop, which has moved to Atiu, was held in conjunction with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Health.

Facilitator Moana Manuela said suicide was a very complex issue and during the workshop, they looked at risk and protective factors associated with this social tragedy.

“We asked the questions – what, why, who, when. We looked at science, we talked about language, media, and literacy around the issue. We also looked at statistics and we looked at solutions and plans because really this (Flo Talanoa) is the voice of the community to the community,” Manuela said.

“It’s all based on evidence and research. It is in New Zealand context but relevant to the Pacific.”

Manuela said one of the things they talked about in the workshop was debunking the myth associated with suicide.

“We looked at the myths … things like if we talk about it, someone will do it. It’s not true. When we talk about (suicide), it’s just like asking ‘how was your day at work’. I won’t know unless you tell me,” she said.

“Sometimes the best answer you can give to someone is to listen. Just because you are talking to me, I don’t really need to respond. These are some of the things we talked about.”

Manuela said the participants came from all walks of life, majority coming from the government departments.

“We had government officials which had a big representation and it is good to have them because they hold the money. They are the policy makers and policy holders. They need to walk the talk for the people to follow because they are the head and we are the tail.

“We are also happy to have community representation from churches, youth groups, schools, mums and dads who have no affiliation and others.”

Professional boxer Joseph Parker also attended the event and spoke of his own challenges as a professional boxer and in life.

Prime minister Henry Puna said suicide was a matter that greatly concerned his government, adding “we know the answers are here in our communities”.

Puna said suicide was a matter that the governments, communities and families need to speak on more and more.