Otago Uni research to focus on Māori and Pasifika mental health

By Jessica Tyson

Almost $19 million dollars has been awarded to Otago University researchers to study the health of New Zealanders.

A large majority of the Health Research Council funding will go to projects focused on Māori and Pacific people.

Lecturer Dr Cameron Lacey has been awarded around $618,366 over two years to investigate first episode psychosis among Māori. 

Dr Lacey says there is evidence Māori have increased prevalence and worse outcomes following diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, however little is known about the causes or strategies to reduce them.

Associate Professor Faafetai Sopoanga has received $599,366 over three years to study mental health among Pacific youth in higher education.

She says, “We know very little specifically about the mental health and well-being of Pacific students in tertiary institutions.”

“We are seeking to determine the risk and protective factors that influence their mental health and well-being."

The study will explore students’ access to services, their expectations and experiences at university, including barriers to using health or other support services.

“Furthermore, we wish to determine the role of access to health and other support services on their mental health, well-being and academic progress.”

To view the full list of recipients click here.