Mental health organisation Le Va funds Pasifika suicide prevention groups

April 22, 2021


Photo/RNZ

By Elijah Fa'afiu - elijah.fa'afiu@pmn.co.nz

Pasifika groups dealing with suicide prevention have received nearly a million dollars from a new fund. 

The Le Va Pasifika Suicide Prevention Community Fund supports eighteen initiatives​ in areas such as the arts, sports and youth.

Le Va Chief Executive Denise Kingi-Uluave says funding Pacific mental health services needs to be a priority.

“We know that from evidence and research that our Pasifika communities and particularly our young people are experiencing a lot of mental health issues, particularly in anxiety and depression at the moment, so it’s really important that we cater for their particular needs.”

Kingi-Uluave says there was a “vigorous process” in deciding the fund recipients, with an external, independent panel coming on board and accessing the applications.

The community fund allows groups to carry out their role in the suicide prevention space.

“This fund enables them to be able to showcase and work within our communities to find the answers or to prevent suicide,” says Kingi-Uluave.

“The objectives are to build resilience within our communities, so that they are able to identify when somebody might be at risk of suicide and then they can respond in a really strength-based and positive way to that person.”

The Director of the Suicide Prevention Office Carla na Nagara says the range of groups receiving funds highlights how widespread suicide is in our communities.

“If we put all our efforts on one small group of people, rather than a range of people within a population group, then we don’t get the impact that we need.

“Having a range of initiatives means that we increase the chances that people understand about the importance of wellbeing in the suicide prevention continuum.

“Suicide prevention is about strengthening families and communities and I think it’s about people understanding the influence that they can have on other people’s wellbeing.”

Messages of hope by a suicide prevention group have been boosted by the Le Va Pasifika Suicide Prevention Community Fund.

Love Somebody Charitable Trust is a new organisation established last year that runs workshops and videos on mental wellbeing.

Founding trustee Wesley Faleolo says the videos feature well-known celebrities talking about specific topics.

“We’ve got David Fane on masks, Sela Alo on grief, Tammy Davis on relationships, Kirk Torrance, Wairangi Koopu - we couldn’t have done it without Le Va.”

Love Somebody Trust is based on the pillars of connection, awareness and research.​

However because of last year’s Covid-19 lockdowns, the group had to change the way they ran their events.

“We had to really reinvent ourselves with the restrictions, so we concentrated on doing our connection support group, where it was more educational, more resilience building and created a programme called Fight the Good Fight,” Faleolo says.

The programme saw Love Somebody visit high schools on a weekly basis.

Faleolo says it was important for his group to check up on their students on a regular basis.

“We just didn’t want to do a one-off programme. We just turn up and make sure we’re there to support and that’s us for the rest of the year.”

You can find the first video by Love Somebody Trust below:

Where to get help:

- 1737 - NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737

- Depression Helpline 0800 111 757

- Youthline 0800 376 633 - Free text 234 or email: talk@youthline.co.nz

- Rainbow Youth 09 376 4155 

- What's Up 0800 942 8787 

- Kidsline 0800 54 37 54

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.