PACIFIC ISLANDS YOUTH AT RISK FOR MENTAL DISORDERS

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New Zealand-born kids vulnerable to suicide, depression

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 4, 2012) – A Pasifika psychologist is hoping new funding from the New Zealand government will help towards greater care of mothers and children to help address alarming rates of mental health disorders in the Pacific community.

Pacific young people are about twice as likely to have depression, anxiety issues or to make suicide attempts as the rest of the population.

And young Pacific people born in New Zealand are most at risk as they are twice as likely to experience mental disorder as those who have migrated to New Zealand.

A consultant psychologist, Dr. Siale Foliaki, says there seems to be something about growing up in an urban area that makes Pacific children more vulnerable to mental disorders.

"I’m hoping this new funding from the government will address greater care of mothers and children, and particularly with a focus on early childhood education. The more kids that we get into quality education, the more able we are to screen and pick up kids that are having problems at that age group."

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