Heilala Malu, the Tongan Framework for Suicide Prevention, was launched in May 2017 in a ceremony with The Ministry of Pacific Peoples, the Ministry of Health, and Tongan community and church leaders.
The idea for the Framework came from participants in University of Auckland researcher Dr Jemaima Tiatia-Seath’s work on suicide prevention for Tongan youth in New Zealand, funded by a joint HRC and Ministry of Health Pacific Research Partnership Grant.
Dr Tiatia-Seath concluded the project with recommendations for the development of practical guidelines/protocols for suicide prevention to equip Tongan families, communities and services to appropriately respond to Tongan community youth suicide prevention needs. With the help of a follow-on HRC knowledge translation grant, Dr Tiatia-Seath translated these recommendations into the Heilala Malu framework.
The evidence-based bilingual resource has now been adopted by health service providers, community centres and churches across the country. This project highlights the wider benefit to NZ from our investment in researchers, with Dr Tiatia-Seath’s particular expertise and experience seeing her named on the panel for the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.