Sunday, 5 July 2015

Suicide figure rise, CASPER Responds

I did an interview on Radio Waatea:

Above are the Podcast links 
Please excuse the background sounds, this was done live while I was at home with family
Broadcast on Sunday 7pm 5th July 2015
Transcripted Translation of Interview:
Pierre: Good Evening Listeners. Tonight we look at the high number of suicides in New Zealand. This is a difficult subject to address. Joining us tonight is an expert in such matters, TeRata Hikairo from CASPER, TeRata Good Evening.
TeRata: Good Evening to you Pierre and to all the listeners tonight, Good evening to you.
Pierre: In terms of this group CASPER, little is known about them. Please tell us more about yourselves and your work.
TeRata: CASPER stands for “Community Action for Suicide Prevention, Education and Research”, which means that our primary objective is to have a sound educational and evidence-base that informs our practice in terms of Community Suicide prevention activities. Casper is a network of families in New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and the USA. The purpose of our network is to gather evidence and further research to support what we know in terms of suicide prevention in terms of the personal devastation that it causes for the bereaved.
Pierre: TeRata, can we say that suicide can affect any family anywhere.
TeRata: Yes we can. The saddest thing, is that as we speak, we’ve received the latest suicide statistics from the Ministry of Health, from June 2014 to May 2015; 569, which is 40 more than last year. 569 suicides in the last 12 months alone. Indeed at CASPER, we are really sad about this. Because time and again we think that we are making headway and PREVENTION is increasing, but in fact it is the SUICIDE statistics which are actually increasing.
Pierre: That is a very surprising statistic. TeRata, could we say that if such a number marched down Queen Street that would certainly be a large number, what do you say?
TeRata: Yes truly, a lot has been done (like this) in years past. And YES, there SHOULD be marches.
Let us March to Wellington, Lets MARCH down Queen Street. BUT. But, unfortunately one of the difficulties as I have said on television in past interviews, Is Legislation. Legislation is a hinderance stopping people from speaking out. As it currently stands, anyone who broadcasts or uses Social media to talk about suicide without being sanctioned by the Coroner or the Ministry of Health, they’ll be fined and punished. Therefore that is one of the difficulties in raising awareness of these issues, is the current Legislation.
Pierre: Oh My! That is new to me. TeRata, in terms of this statistic and this number of victims, how do things fare for us, for Maori?
TeRata: I am one of those who assisted my extended whanau in taking them home when such a tragedy struck us, the victim was my own cousin. Yes, there have been many Maori affected. Many Maori are affected. The evidence from research says that it is high for Youth, for Maori and for Men. And thus many such people die like this. I did not receive a full breakdown of the specific statistics for Maori, I saw the statistics for all of New Zealand, but yes it is a high number for Maori, I am sure.
Pierre: TeRata, you work in the field of Suicide prevention. You would know more that I do about this. What are the drivers for people who die from suicide?
TeRata: The evidence and the research base rests upon 2 opposing models of Suicide prevention. One is the Mental Health model, the other is the Social model. The Mental Health model tells us that a person who dies from suicide has a form of depression or a disorder. CASPERs social model though, suggests something different. The social model suggests that if a person dies from suicide THEN they have lost their sense of belonging to their whanau and their community. The evidence in support of the social model is mounting. Maori too, require a connection to THEIR own sense of community. The evidence also suggests that if someone has sustained trauma and abuses drugs, these 3 combined aspects can all detrimentally affect someone so as to lead to suicide.
Pierre: Indeed. TeRata, something that is emerging this year is Poverty. Poverty is increasing. Do you think this also has an impact?
TeRata: Yes things like Poverty have an impact to, certainly. BUT, let us not be deceived and think that only those in Poverty die like this because even Wealthy people can die like this. No matter the economics, age or the racial background of a person ANYONE can be affected. And again this happens especially when those 3 factors of sustained drug abuse, sustained trauma and a lost sense of belonging occurs for a person.
Pierre: TeRata as an exponent of Te Reo me ona Tikanga, you’d know that Suicide exists in our ancient folklore and is a part of old stories about Tane and Hinenutepo. How do you think this affects us?
TeRata: I am informed by the research. Keri Lawson is a known Maori researcher. Keri Lawson’s research tells us that the ongoing effects of Colonisation can lead to Suicide. And yes aspects of tikanga inform all of this as well. BUT!!! Let us NOT go further and say ‘Tane and Hinenuitepo did this so it is acceptable for us as well”. Though I can agree that there are such stories in our culture.
Pierre: TeRata what will CASPER be doing in the coming days and weeks to raise awareness about Suicide Prevention?
TeRata: We are available to do workshops, facilitate meetings or even train people on Suicide Prevention. We’ll work with any schools or like-minded community organisations. So please go to our website or call 0508 CASPER.
Pierre: We’ve unfortunately run out of time. I am very grateful to you and the knowledge that you have which you share with us. Thank you TeRata.

TeRata: Thank YOU!!