Dr Hinemoa Elder takes chair of Māori expert reference panel for suicide prevention

By Te Ao - Māori News

The new chair of the Ministry of Health’s Suicide Prevention Office Māori expert reference panel says the levels of suicidal despair in Māori communities are an emergency, especially for rangatahi.

Dr Hinemoa Elder said she was thrilled to be joining the national efforts on this important mahi.

The rate of deaths by suicide for Māori are almost three times higher than the general population, with Māori youth being particularly at risk.

“Bringing together all our own learnings of what works to prevent suicide is vital for action,” Elder said.

 “I am honoured to be following on from Sir Mason Durie, whose leadership in mental health and involvement in the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction has provided of immense value to reforming how we care for New Zealanders.”

The Māori Expert Reference Panel provides the Suicide Prevention Office with strategic advice, support and guidance on matters relating to Māori suicide prevention and implementation of New Zealand’s suicide prevention strategy, He Tapu te Oranga o ia tangata.

Suicide Prevention Office director Carla na Nagara, said Elder’s skills and experience brought valuable insights to the panel.

“She is well known for her work in the fields of child, adolescent and youth forensic psychiatry, indigenous research, and tikanga Māori approaches to brain injury,” Carla na Nagara said.