Suicide: What can be done?

23:49, Mar 18 2014
Southland Times photo
Julie and John Duffy, of Alexandra.

An Alexandra woman who lost her son to suicide in 2012  receives calls and emails ''many times a week'' from Central Otago people wanting support.

Julie Duffy is organising a second suicide prevention evening in Central Otago following public demand for increased support and information.

About 120 people attended a CASPER - Community Action on Suicide Prevention Education and Research - night in September last year and feedback from the community had been ''overwhelming'', Mrs Duffy said.

''This support and services is what our community asked for following the CASPER nights ... I continue to be phoned and emailed many times each week with requests from families for support and help. These requests are from all over Otago. As a community I believe that we have to own this heartbreaking and all too common social problem that is occurring at a rate of 11 per week in all our communities.

''A cohesive approach from all our Health and Service Agencies is paramount to making a change.'' 

The plan was to employ a co-ordinator based in Alexandra to support families bereaved by suicide Prevention and Education would also be a major focus of this role, she said.


At the upcoming meeting, there would be a line-up of expert guest speakers at the upcoming evening, including internationally-renowned  psychiatrist and Head of Psychological Medicine University of Otago Professor Roger Mulder, she said.

He would present latest research; how to manage and recognise the risk of suicide; give practical actions communities could take to dhprevent suicide and to keep family and community members safe, and discuss the role and link of both prescription and illegal medications to suicide and mental illness.

There would also be presentations from Southern District Health Board-Public Health South suicide prevention co-ordinator Paul Martin.

Mr Martin would cover topics including his role, the development and implementation of a Suicide Action Plan for the Southern Community, and explain the goals and outcomes of the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006 - 2016 at the community level.

There would also be an opportunity to ask questions.

The aim was ''to bring our community together to listen, share and support each other'', she said.

Central Otago Sub Area Supervisor Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said the police fully supported the initiative, especially the community meeting.

''We were heavily involved in the CASPER meeting last year and it was very successful and the feedback from the community has been 'we want more meetings like this and more information available'.''

It was a coup to have Professor Roger Mulder speak, he said.

''He doesn't often speak to small communities like ours because of his time restraints. 

''In Central Otago the reality is we had a period where there was a very high rate of suicide, especially of younger people.''


Suicide Prevention Awareness Evening, The Cellar Door (Alexandra), May 19, 7pm.

Where can I get support and help?

Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 

Depression Helpline (8 am to 12 midnight) - 0800 111 757

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Kidsline (aimed at children up to 14 years of age; 4 pm to 6 pm weekdays) - 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline)

Samaritans - 0800 726 666 

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email Prevention Information New Zealand -

What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787 - visit the website, email or free text 5626 (emails and text messages will be responded to between 12 noon and 12 midnight).



The Southland Times