National | Crime

'Struggling to hang on to hope' - Cribb-Sua on challenges for whānau, rangatahi

Rangatahi have been faced with mental health challenges during the tough times of the Covid-19 pandemic. On top of that youth crime is rising, with a 400 percent increase in ram raids, and 76 percent of those caught are under 18.

Earlier this week Wahine Toa Hunting social media star Pania Te Paiho Marsh revealed she has played aunty to a lot of rangatahi reaching out to her for help. Yesterday, at-risk youth worker Jacqui Harema spoke for the need for an effective response for at-risk youth.

Today psychologist & Hauora Hinengaro lead with the National Hauora Coalition, Dr Ainsleigh Cribb-Sua (Ngāti Hauwhata, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tamaterā), told teaomā child and youth anxiety levels and truancy levels "are at an all-time high".

“We have a significant number of young people disengaged and disconnected from schooling. The combat to that is to find opportunities for our young people to develop a sense of purpose, engage in activities that promote their wellbeing but also promotes their ability to connect.”


Dr Cribb-Sua says anti-social behaviours and crime engagement should be recognised as “a symptom, not the disease”.

“The disease is the disconnection.

“[We need to] respond to finding the opportunities for our young people: to connect, be connected with, to contribute meaningfully, purposefully and successfully.

She acknowledged that it could be just as hard on the parents of rangatahi as well, who were having to deal with inflation, fuel prices, and cost of living at an all-time high on top of everything else.

“Now I have to pay so such more out of lockdown – it’s almost like a punishment coming out of it.

“We’ve been in such a state of flux, uncertainty & disruption that, as whānau, we’re struggling to hang on to hope."