National | Indigenous

Incorporating indigenous practices into mental health

Te Rau Matatini Research Manager, Dr. Kahu McClintock has recently been granted close to $800,000 by the Health Research Council (HRC) of New Zealand and Ministry of Health, to examine the use of cultural ways for helping at-risk Māori and Pacific youth.

McClintock’s research programme will examine a range of culturally-focused and community-based programmes to increase mental health resilience.

The research incorporates two projects- the first will be looking into a cultural and theoretical programme for at-risk Māori aged 12–18 who have been recognised as having mental health issues.

The second project will be intended for Māori males aged 12–18 and will use marae teachings to help strengthen connections to the Māori world and give participants a positive focus for their future.

McClintock says the indigenous solutions will be an effective and sustainable way forward for improving outcomes in Māori mental health.

It will also test the strategies in place now and will identify what isn't working.

HRC’s Senior Manager of Māori Health Research Investment, Stacey Pene, says, "The research partnership between Te Rau Matatini, Te Ahurei a Rangatahi, Te Puna Hauora ki Uta ki Tai and the Family Centre Pacific Section represents an exciting opportunity to apply indigenous knowledge to improve mental health for our Māori and Pacific youth, their whānau, and communities.

"The development of such culturally-responsive programmes is vital for increasing the resilience of our youth, and reducing inequity."

The Ministry of Health’s Māori Leadership spokesperson, Alison Thorn says mental health management and prevention is one of New Zealand’s priorities in the health system.

She says, "We are pleased to see research proposals that help inform the development and delivery of more effective mental health services and support for Māori and Pacific youth."