13 Dec 2017

Funding for Māori and Pasifika youth mental health research

9:32 pm on 13 December 2017

A Māori researcher has received funding to help her analyse how culturally focused community mental health programmes can help at-risk Māori and Pasifika youth.

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Photo: RNZ/Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Health Research Council of New Zealand and the Ministry of Health have awarded Kahu McClintock of Te Rau Matatini just under $800,000.

Dr McClintock said in the last 10 years she had seen the rates of Māori and Pasifika youth with mental health issues shoot up dramatically.

She believed mainstream mental health services had not been able to provide effective care for these youth.

"We're saying we can come up with our own evidence as Māori and Pasifika and says this works."

The research project would focus on three different community programmes across the country.

Te Puna Hauora ki Uta ki Tai is a Tauranga-based programme for at risk Māori youth who have been identified within the education systems as having issues with either anxiety, violence, alcohol, drug abuse or depression.

Te Ahurei a Rangatahi is a marae-based program in Hamilton for Māori boys aged between 12-18 years old.

Pacific research will focus on the Family Centre in Wellington and look at how to increase Pacific communities' understanding of mental health problems.

The Health Research Council's senior manager of Māori health research investment Stacey Pene said these projects aimed to translate well-recognised concepts into action.

The research partnership between Te Rau Matatini, Te Ahurei a Rangatahi, Te Puna Hauora ki Uta ki Tai and the Family Centre Pacific Section represented an exciting opportunity to apply indigenous knowledge to improve mental health for Māori and Pacific youth, their whānau, and communities, she said.