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A new mental health segment led by Pacific organisations has launched online and on air this week to address mental health concerns in the Pasifika community. The programme is called Ngalu Fānifo, which is a Tongan metaphor meaning 'when life gets difficult and stormy seas get rough, we need support to ride those waves and gently make it back to shore'.

Pasifika Medical Association through Pasifika Futures - the Whānau Ora agency for Pacific families - have partnered with the Pacific Media Network to deliver the weekly half hour segment on Radio 531pi. The segment was launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Ngalu Fānifo aims to normalise conversations around mental health and well-being by hearing from Pacific psychologists, psychiatrists and clinical specialists.

Pacific psychiatrist Dr Siale Foliaki said the segment hopes to make information and advice around mental health more accessible to Pasifika people.

"There's a wealth of research that says that for the Pacific community in particular, accessing mental health services is particularly problematic.

And so for whatever reasons, it's harder for a Pacific person to get the care that they need if there's a significant mental health issue and the other side of that same coin is that often people present in the primary care with stress related illness," he said.

Dr Foliaki said by explaining stress related illness on the Ngalu Fānifo segment will hopefully help Pacific people articulate what they're going through when they seek medical help.


New multimedia segment for Pasifika on mental health