4 Jan 2012

Anti-suicide programme targets young Pacific people

10:06 am on 4 January 2012

Health and youth agencies in South Auckland are mounting a major prevention programme following a surge of suicides among young Pacific people.

The Counties-Manukau District Health Board says 14 Pacific people - many of them young Tongans - killed themselves between April and November last year.

The board's general manager for Pacific health says the holiday programme is a response to a cluster of five youth suicides in November.

Manu Sione says the aim is to prevent copycat suicides by young people who have lost a friend or family member.

Mr Sione says they also want to reduce the number of suicides over the holidays, which can be a tough time for Pacific families.

Youth leaders from about 100 Pacific churches have been given training and information to take to families and Pacific events over summer, he says.