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Troy Ruhe Nick Bowden Reremoana Theodore Brittany Stanley-Wishart Sarah Hetrick Hiran Thabrew Matt Hobbs Lukas Marek Jesse Wiki Joseph Boden Jesse Kokaua


Introduction: Pasifika young people of Aotearoa New Zealand are known to experience higher rates of mental health and addiction conditions (especially anxiety and depression), compared with young non-Māori/non-Pasifika (NMNP). However, there is little information about how well these issues are identified by mental health services.

Aim: We compared rates of diagnosis of common mental health and substance use-related conditions between Pasifika and NMNP young people (aged 10-24 years) and examined how these diagnoses varied with deprivation.

Method: This national, cross-sectional study was undertaken using 2017/18 fiscal year data from a national database known as the Integrated Data Infrastructure. Specialist mental health service use, hospitalisations and pharmaceutical dispensing for any mental health condition, emotional condition (depression and/or anxiety), substance use-related conditions, and self-harm were examined.

Results: A total of 982,305 young people (12.4%, Pasifika and 63.9%, NMNP) were identified. Compared with NMNP, Pasifika young people were significantly less likely to be diagnosed by specialist mental health services with any mental health condition (adjusted Risk Ratio (aRR) = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.75 to 0.78); any emotional condition (aRR= 0.44, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 0.43 to 0.45); or to be hospitalised for self-harm (aRR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.82 to 0.94). However, they were significantly more likely than NMNP to be diagnosed with substance use-related conditions (aRR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.63 to 1.74). Although the overall rate of mental health issues remained relatively stable across deprivation levels, emotional conditions were much less frequently diagnosed in those with greater deprivation.

Discussion: Discrepancies between expected and identified rates of diagnoses of common mental health and substance use-related conditions might indicate different patterns of service access by Pasifika young people, or they may reflect the bias of an inequitable and less than culturally appropriate health system.

Article Details

Original Research

How to Cite

Identification of mental health and substance use-related conditions among Pasifika young people in Aotearoa New Zealand - a national cross-sectional study using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). (2022). Pacific Health Dialog, 21(10), 663-672.