Story: Mental health services

Pacific attitudes to mental illness

Pacific attitudes to mental illness

Tongan-born Sione Vaka was a mental health nurse before undertaking a PhD on Tongan attitudes to mental illness. Tongans, along with people from other Pacific Island cultures, may prefer to approach a traditional healer for an exorcism ceremony or a herbal potion if they experience symptoms of mental illness. Mr Vaka's research aims to help mental health workers provide more effective services for Pasifika patients.

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How to cite this page:

Warwick Brunton, 'Mental health services - Contemporary issues', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 October 2023)

Story by Warwick Brunton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 5 May 2022