Last week the 15th data report of Child and Youth Mortality was released. The report identified that the most common causes of deaths in the five-year period for children and youth were suicide, transportation, cancers, and Sudden Infant Death in Infancy (SUDI). Between 2015-2019, 2,666 tamariki and rangatahi lives were lost in Aotearoa. We must do better.
The report highlights the continued need to address poverty and deprivation across all intersections of society for the sake of our children. The urgent call to action is to prioritise our tamariki, protect their lives and prevent their deaths.
The key messages of this report remind Aotearoa that our children need all areas of life to be better. As adults, we need to address the drivers of disconnection, disenfranchisement and to create a society where our youngest are safe, are well and can flourish. This high level of preventable deaths in Aotearoa remains unacceptable. The need is urgent and requires effort across all domains of life by everyone. It must be a national priority to address child and youth mortality in Aotearoa.
Key learnings from the report include:
- Equitable investment in Māori and Pacific solutions is needed
- Healthy starts make a difference to outcomes
- Children need safe environments to thrive
- It is protective for children and young people to stay engaged in education
- Deprivation needs urgent government attention
There are some pockets of excellence in Aotearoa and community-based solutions must be invested in for the wellbeing of children to change. The establishment of national strategies (Kia Manawanui Mental Wellbeing) and health authorities must have this on their agenda as prioritised outcomes to change- the future depends on it.
- Linda Bowden
2IC Clinical Manager- Towards Wellbeing
Tags: suicide prevention; children; child; tamariki; youth; rangatahi; adolescent; young people; mortality; Māori; pacific; pasifika