COMMUNITY SUICIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVES 2014 – 2017
INFORMED, COHESIVE AND RESILIENT COMMUNITIES
‘Our voyage has been strengthened by our many communities.’
A focus on communities necessarily involved participation by large numbers of people from a wide range of groups. Māori do not belong to a single community. Instead, there are a diversity of communities built around the day-to-day lives of people and defined as much by interests, involvement, and inclusion as by locality.
Waka Hourua identified a range of Māori communities for whom the prevention of suicide was a priority. A characteristic of each community was a common interest or activity that fostered a sense of belonging and commitment. Members of the community worked in a collaborative manner and carried with them distinctive patterns of leadership and belonging. Within each group, there was often an ‘inner core’ of members who provided expertise, sustainability and experience. There was an obvious commitment to adhering to a message that everyone has an important role in leading the development of wellness which is a tangible feature of the Waka Hourua Community Initiatives.
Six Northland hauora (health) providers undertook the Lifeline Aotearoa, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Techniques (ASIST) training www.lifeline.org.nz. The training provided attendees with knowledge and skills; to recognise suicidal behaviours, that would be shared with the community, other whānau and marae in the hope of limiting the numbers of ideation and suicide, and teachings to help engage with whānau to prevent suicide. This has proven beneficial to all participating hauora providers in terms of supporting their communities.
Te Ringa Atawhai Trust, an education and health promotion referral service supported whānau and communities to develop their own suicide prevention plans and increase awareness of suicide. Te Ringa Atawhai achieved this by offering a marae based approach as the foundation of their suicide and awareness project. The Like Minds, Like Mine Mental Health programme, Path planning tool, setting goals and the resource developed by the Ringa Atawhai Trust, Working with whānau were utilised to support whānau with their current needs as well as planning for the future.
Ngāti Hine Health Trust collaborated with RAID, a rangatahi anti-bullying, raising awareness of suicide prevention group. The RAID movement wanted to extend their work with the creation of a Parent Branch. This development is a rangatahi supported initiative designed to broaden and enhance parent’s understanding of ‘the life of a rangatahi’ and strengthen parent-rangatahi relationships through the involvement in RAID activities. Parents in this initiative received assistance to know how to support rangatahi in distress through receiving pamphlets and attending activities.
This initiative sought to increase the number of first aiders and to extend the Raglan Community Suicide Prevention and Awareness programme. A two day, Applied Suicide Interventions Skills Techniques (ASIST) workshop run by Lifeline Aotearoa www.lifeline.org.nz was provided to marae, health professionals, counsellors and local police. The workshop focussed on awareness of the signs that indicate a person is at risk of suicide and how to support them to seek help.
Rauawaawa Trust serves kaumātua (elders) who live within a 20km radius of Hamilton city. Rauawaawa focussed on the development of resources and tools that will help kaumātua identify whānau members at risk of suicide, to provide kaumātua with the knowledge required to enable them to effectively support their whānau in suicide prevention and post-vention. The Mamae Aroha resource is a video series featuring kaumātua speaking about their experiences as bereaved whānau and can be located at http://wakahourua.co.nz/%E2%80%8Brauawaawa-kaum%C4%81tua-charitable-trust.
The Ngāti Awa Social & Health Services (Nash) is one of the largest integrated Māori provider service in the Bay of Plenty region. The suicide prevention and awareness programme developed by NASH incorporated a Ko Te Mahi training which is a follow up to Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) approach http://www.qpr.org.nz/suicide-prevention-training-courses.aspx but with a kaupapa Māori foundation, from a Māori world view which provided cultural safety and sensitivity to grieving families. The programme provided increased awareness of suicide prevention and strengthened the connections across the Nash region to provide better health outcomes for their communities.
This marae wānanga (cultural spaces and forums) initiative assisted whānau to become better informed about suicide prevention which involved developing problem solving and conflict resolutions skills. Opportunities were also offered to learn the legislative processes regarding sudden death and bereaved whānau rights to information from the coroner. Strengthening cultural identity for the whānau and strengthening them as Māori were viewed valuable to include in a suicide prevention plan.
This initiative provided parents and caregivers within their communities with specific workshops and resources to recognise signs of self-harm and suicide ideation. Whānau learnt about the myths of suicide, what to say and how to be supportive to their whānau members.
This initiative supported whānau bereaved by suicide but seemingly whakamā (ashamed) to seek help. Workshops were offered to the Te Kupenga Net Trust community that utilised two Māori resources developed by the Trust. Taku Mapihi Maurea: a personal handbook aimed to provide tools for self-reflection; identifying and understanding feelings; identifying strengths and supports; identifying if help was required and where to find help. Wellness cards were offered to assist in the triage process for community groups, whānau and/or educational facilities to enable quick and accurate assessment of suicidality and thus recognise when to contact appropriate services. Te Kupenga Net Trust also sponsored two people to complete a National Certificate in Suicide Intervention (Level 6). The certificate was a six month programme offered by Anamata Private Training Establishment located in Whakatāne. A concert to raise awareness of community support available for whānau in distress was organised that promoted accessing help when needed
Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa Rūnanga Trust seeks to improve the health of their people through providing health services by Māori for Māori. In addition, an Iwi Hauora Tribal health Plan to contribute to the wellness of their iwi members was developed in consultation with members. Specific training opportunities have also been offered to build cultural capability and capacity for Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whāo in terms of suicide prevention. Community and iwi collaborations are also being encouraged particularly with the local secondary school focused on providing activities that build confidence and discusses healthy choices for rangatahi as a means of suicide prevention.
Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau Health Education and Social Services (Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau) is the lead organisation overseeing the development and implementation of the Kawerau Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The core goals being communication, collaboration, education, coordination and whānau participation. The focus of the Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau initiative has been to capture stories of whānau bereaved by suicide providing a resource that identifies support structures and processes. A regional conference provided the attendees with an opportunity to listen and to share their stories as survivors that provided a supportive network. Marae based wānanga were also offered to rangatahi addressing issues such as wellbeing, connectedness and belonging.
Te Rongo Toi Uru Arts Collective under the umbrella of Matahiwi Marae completed this project. Six Māori artists were commissioned to develop five pieces of artwork, to raise awareness of suicide and promote suicide prevention. The artworks were displayed in a gallery for the public and were also used in a poster art campaign which were distributed to schools, community groups, organisations and used as part of local activities/initiatives that were happening during Mental Health Awareness Week and to raise suicide prevention. The artists completed suicide awareness training and explored suicide facts and information to gain inspiration.
Best Care identified that within Mid Central District Health Board it is the small rural communities that most lack the capacity, resources and support when it comes to talking about issues such as suicide, supporting tāngata whaiora (health consumers) who are suicidal, responding as a community when suicide occurs and then supporting whānau in the post-vention phase. For this reason, Whakapai Hauora wanted to focus on working with the communities of Dannevirke, Foxton and Shannon. Haumaru groups were set up by Whakapai Hauora in Foxton and Shannon to work with the communities to reduce the stigma and discrimination around suicide by raising the level of suicide awareness with health promotion and education.
Lifting the silence on suicide, sharing information so that access to the appropriate help could occur and plans could be developed to deal with distress before it got critical.
He Waka Tapu is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) based in Christchurch that delivers health and social services to the area. Other health and social service providers and community groups collaborated with He Waka Tapu to hold events and develop initiatives that raised the awareness of suicide and contributed to suicide prevention. There were 13 events/initiatives completed, which included workshops, presentations, an open mic night, a suicide prevention symposium, a whānau day, a weekend wānanga and sports and outdoor activities. A website was used to document the events as well as promote any events, information and news regarding suicide awareness and prevention. This can be found at www.o2waitaha.org.nz. This website was also used as a communication portal for those organisations and groups involved in the project and is still available.
Te Roopu Tautoko ki Te Tonga is a community-based Māori mental health provider that undertook a project to develop a suicide prevention E-referral system for General Practitioners (GPs), to connect seamlessly to Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga and ensure early intervention. After an initial evaluation of the barriers that may affect the integration of an E-referral and screening tool Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga has introduced GP workshops, and promotion of E-referrals to support whānau recovery within the community. Currently, the E-referral service is up and running with software in place to coordinate service. To enable the ongoing use of E-referral Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga continues to raise awareness of the tool to GPs and health service providers and is committed to making health care more accessible for the community and thereby improve health outcomes for whānau.
Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust is a non-profit organisation based in Invercargill and established in 2000 which offers a range of health and social services. Ngā Kete Mātauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust worked in partnership with Kimiora Trust to provide tīkanga (culture) Māori based suicide intervention training, with culturally appropriate skills, knowledge and Māori strategies that work towards keeping whānau safe. The purpose was to help whānau living in Te Wai Pounamu to learn suicide intervention skills to keep their whānau safe from suicide. This project has enabled community members at risk of suicide to be more supported, by being able to identify risk factors, create a safe plan, and access to support networks for whānau. These outcomes emphasise the importance of whānau. The main aims of workshops were to:
Deliver Tikanga Māori-based suicide intervention workshops across Waitaha, Ōtākou and Murihiku.
Explore wairua and tikanga Māori concepts that engaged whānau in culturally relevant intervention training an understanding of mental health and suicide prevention model that focuses on identity, belonging, and a sense of place.
Educate whānau and community with suicide intervention training and methods.
Provide opportunity for participants to practice the technique by reinforced learning.
The Mental Health Foundation of Aotearoa collaborated with Tīwhanawhana community leader Elizabeth Kerekere and developed a resource to reduce chronic suicide risk factors such as; discrimination, social exclusion and rejection. Over 10,000 copies of the Takatāpui (devoted partner of the same sex) booklets were distributed as well as a video which can be accessed from the following weblink www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assests/ResourceFinder/takatāpui.pdf. The resources were developed to increase understanding, visibility, knowledge, and safer places and cultural connections for takatāpui.