Heilala Malu – Voices to Suicide Prevention in Aotearoa NZ

The 2018 International Mental Health Conference is almost upon us again, this year the conference will be held over the 8th – 10th August at the RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

This annual conference is now in its 19th year and continues to be the pinnacle event in the mental health industry. The Conference provides an invaluable opportunity to build relationships and to share knowledge, research and latest policies.

Mrs Aulola He Polealisi Fuka Lino, Senior Lecturer at Unitec joins us at the conference to discuss ‘Heilala Malu – Voices to Suicide Prevention in Aotearoa NZ’.


Each year approximately 80,000 people die from suicide worldwide, which translates to one person every forty seconds. The suicide rate in Aotearoa New Zealand is alarming especially within ethnic minority communities such as in Māori and Pacific. Although the rate for Pacific is staggering, they have the highest rate of suicide attempts. There is an ongoing commitment to respond in relation to this phenomenon which has seen an increase in the number of researches and literatures examining factors which contribute to this epidemic. A recent national qualitative study within the Pacific community more specifically Tongan in Aotearoa New Zealand, explored experiences of bereaved families who have lost a loved one to suicide. The study employed a qualitative approach with an ethnic-cultural specific methodology namely as Fakalotofale’ia and the method of Talanoa to capture the views and narratives of the family members.

The findings highlighted the importance, value and place of cultural-response which is necessary for suicide prevention. Therefore, this presentation is based on Heilala Malu – the first ethnic-specific suicide prevention framework from a Tongan perspective, more importantly from the voices of bereaved families to suicide. This framework is essential to provide insight in regards to cultural factors that are pivotal in better understanding risk and protective factors. In addition, this framework will offer different way(s) of working holistically with individuals and their families to combat issues which can directly or indirectly contribute to suicide vulnerability. Furthermore, it will contribute to ethnic communities around the world who are going through similar issues and to encourage those who are of ethnic minority to develop research based on the voices of their community.


‘Aulola Fuka Lino is a Registered Social Worker with a Masters of Arts in Youth Development (Firs Class Honours). Her research interests are in the area of suicide prevention, cultural supervision, Pacific research methodology, gender issues, Pacific youth at risk and cultural models of practice. ‘Aulola is currently a PhD candidate at AUT University and recipient of the AUT Vice-Chancellor Scholarship completing PhD research exploring constructs of Deliberate Self-harm from a Tongan female perspective. 'Aulola is currently a Senior Lecturer at Unitec Institute of Technology and prior has been in the Mental Health field for 13 years.

For further information on the upcoming 19th International Mental Health Conference and to secure your spot please visit anzmh.asn.au/conference


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