Registrations for the PMA Conference are now open! Click here for more information.

Promoting mental wellness for Pasifika men: Men's Health Week NZ
Updates / News, 14 Jun 24
In a society that often encourages men to uphold stoicism and suppress emotions, this week marks a significant stride towards dismantling these stereotypes with Men's Health Week.

Dedicated to fostering conversations about mental wellbeing among men, this initiative aims to normalise conversations on seeking help and promoting a culture of openness. In an interview with RNZ Pacific, PMA CEO Debbie Sorensen and Dr Francis Katoa share the importance of men's health week for Pacific communities. 

"We thought this was a fantastic opportunity for Pacific men to come together. This is the second year that they [men's group] have actually run this event, and it's great to see them doing it themselves in a way they know that works," shares Mrs Sorensen. 

She highlights the significance of creating safe spaces for men to open up about their mental health struggles.  

"They've got a golf event, a quiz evening, a walking group. They have talks with psychiatrists, health coaches, counselors, you know, just a variety of events, all of which will suit someone somewhere." 

Dr Francis Katoa, a Tongan General Practitioner based at Etu Pasifika South Auckland, elaborates on the challenges faced by Pacific men in addressing mental health concerns.  

"Pacific mental health for men, they experience worse outcomes and our clinic is trained to address this by providing a culturally specific service." 

He sheds light on the cultural and religious explanations that often hinder men from seeking help.  

"Pacific men, they are the strong, hardworking type. In Pacific culture, there's the cultural and religious explanations for mental health, and I think this is at times a barrier for our men of seeking help." 

Despite these barriers, Dr Katoa emphasises the importance of seeking support from healthcare professionals.  

"There‚Äôs no shame in seeking support from a GP or counselling." 

Men's Health Week serves as an important reminder of the collective responsibility to prioritise mental wellbeing and support men in their journey towards holistic health and challenging the norms. 

Listen to the full interview here: RNZ Men's health week helps shift mindsets among Pasifika