Help for those who are left

Rodney Times - - FRONT PAGE - By CARALISE MOORE

COM­MU­NITY-BASED group Em­pa­thy is not tip-toe­ing around an is­sue with a lot of stigma and sel­dom openly talked about – sui­cide.

The Whanga­paraoabased sup­port group was set up a year ago for peo­ple who have lost fam­ily or friends to sui­cide.

Or­gan­iser Mau­reen Wes­ley says it of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to share ideas and cop­ing skills with oth­ers, in a car­ing and con­fi­den­tial en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘We have found there is very lit­tle sup­port avail­able for those who have been close to those who com­mit­ted sui­cide, es­pe­cially sup­port on the Hi­bis­cus Coast and fur­ther north,’’ Mau­reen says.

‘‘ The rate is higher than the road toll and the ef­fect of this hap­pen­ing is re­ally sig­nif­i­cant on the lives of those that are left.’’

Co-or­di­na­tors Mau­reen and Sue have had per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with sui­cide among fam­ily or friends.

‘‘ Most peo­ple know some­one who has been sui­ci­dal but it isn’t eas­ily talked about.

‘‘I think a huge thing that peo­ple feel af­ter a sui­cide hap­pens is guilt – was there some­thing they could have done? Com­ing through the grief process takes time and of­ten there never feels com­plete clo­sure.

‘‘Go­ing through this in a group can be a pow­er­ful thing. It is good to know you are not alone and there are oth­ers feel­ing the same way,’’ Mau­reen says.

Em­pa­thy is not a sui­cide preven­tion group, but rather a place for those who knew some­one who com­mit­ted sui­cide.

‘‘It isn’t easy to come to a group like this but that’s why we stress con­fi­den­tial­ity and safety.’’

Visit www.th­elow down. co. nz for in­for­ma­tion on sui­ci­dal be­hav­iour or preven­tion. Other ser­vices avail­able in­clude Youthline, phone toll-free 0800-37-66-33, De­pres­sion Helpline, 0800-111-757, or What’s Up, 0800-942-8787.

If the sit­u­a­tion is se­ri­ous but not an emer­gency con­sult your doc­tor or a men­tal health pro­fes­sional.

Mau­reen has com­pleted a Life­line pro­gramme and ap­plied sui­cide in­ter­ven­tion skills train­ing.

Sue has worked in the men­tal health in­dus­try for 20 years, in par­tic­u­lar with peo­ple suf­fer­ing manic de­pres­sion and their re­cov­ery.

The next Em­pa­thy meet­ing is on May 30 at Hi­bis­cus Coast Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, 214 Hi­bis­cus Coast High­way, Orewa.

A gold coin do­na­tion is re­quested. Meet­ings are on the last Mon­day of ev­ery month at 7pm.

Call Mau­reen Wes­ley on (09) 424-5135 or 021513-506 for in­for­ma­tion.

Wes­ley’ Mau­reen Em­pa­thy co-or­di­na­tor

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