Speaker of the House Niki Rattle will chair the debate which feature a panel made up of health minister Nandi Glassie, Mereana Taikoko of non-government organisation Te Kainga o Pa Taunga, mental health specialist Dr Rangiau Fariu, Opposition MP William Heather, young peoples’ representative Teuru Passfield and community advocate Memory Mills.
Motivated and supported by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the debate aims to encourage diverse public discussion on the topic, “How is mental health addressed in the Cook Islands, and is it effective?”
Organisers say the debate is not designed to be a high level academic discussion, but rather an opportunity for members of the community to discuss the topic.
Serious efforts to address mental health issues in the Cook Islands have come only quite recently, and one of the aims of the debate is to draw attention to the issues and tackle the stigma that often surrounds them, as it can deter people from getting the necessary attention and treatment.
Each of the six panellists will have five minutes’ speaking time, before the floor is opened up for questions.
The “live on air” debate will also be livestreamed to allow people in the Cook Islands and overseas to hear the discussion.
The debate is being supported by the UNDP Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative.