April 27, 2018
Suicide factor in young Maori death rate
Suicide is now the leading course of death for young people by the time they reach 15, with rangatahi Maori making up a disproportionate percentage of those deaths.
That’s one of the findings of the latest report from the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee covering the period from 2012 to 2016.
Committee chair Felicity Dumble says poverty is a key driver of child deaths in New Zealand, with children and young people living in the most deprived areas three times more likely to die in childhood or adolescence than those living in the least deprived areas.
While there are a range of causes which are more prevalent at different ages, including whooping cough, injuries, sudden unexpected death in infancy, and traffic accidents, the suicide rate was of particular concern.
"The Child Youth Mortality Review Committee are working with the Maori caucus of the Health Quality and Safety Commission and the Suicide Mortality Review Committee to look at what are the circumstances and the life course of these young people, what services and supports are available for families and whanau and where are the gaps so where do we need to actually take action," Dr Dumble says.
A number of factors come into play with the Maori death rate, including the long term consequences of colonisation and institutionalised racism.
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