Pasifika Mental Health in New Zealand

Kapeli, S. (University of Auckland), Manuela, S. (University of Auckland), Sibley, C. (University of Auckland)

It has been widely documented that people experiencing psychological distress have an increased likelihood of experiencing anxiety or a depressive disorder. Furthermore, recent findings from the New Zealand Mental Health Foundation (2016) tell us that rates of psychological distress are almost 1.5 times higher for adult Pacific peoples than their non-Māori and non-Pacific counterparts. Thus, our research focuses on exploring Pasifika Mental Health, by leveraging data from the New Zealand Attitudes & Values Study (NZAVS), a national longitudinal data set, to examine how measures of psychological distress, anxiety and depression change across time for adult Pacific peoples in New Zealand. If there are significant changes, what other factors (i.e. certain demographic indicators, aspects of wellbeing) could be contributing to this change? Are there particular variables that may be instrumental in promoting positive Pasifika mental health outcomes? Our research is vital because detrimental mental health experiences is a serious concern for Pacific peoples. We need to understand how and why Pacific peoples experience some of the highest rates of mental illness in New Zealand. In doing so, we will be better equipped to work towards changing this narrative moving forward.


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Culture and Attitudes