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Suicide post-vention group shows benefit of community critical in suicide prevention

Suicide Mortality Review Committee
24 May 2019

An interagency post-vention group in Te Tai Tokerau ki Muriwhenua has shown local solutions based on te ao Māori are critical for saving rangatahi lives.

Suicide post-vention | An example: ‘Fusion’, Te Tai Tokerau, a case study released this week by the Suicide Mortality Review Committee (SUMRC), highlights the value of whakapapa and whanaungatanga in post-vention work. SUMRC is an independent committee of the Health Quality & Safety Commission that reviews and advises on how to reduce the number of suicide deaths in New Zealand.

Post-vention supports those bereaved or affected by suicide and reduces future harm, as evidence suggests exposure to a suicide increases the risk of further suicides, serious self-harm and suicide.

Fusion is a collaborative group of agencies including Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Education, the district health boards’ child and adolescent mental health service – Te Roopu Kimiora, and non-government organisations (NGOs).

Whakamate (suicide) was traditionally treated with compassion by Māori, and the Fusion group believes incorporating these traditions into suicide post-vention work is critical for Māori.

‘Suicide cannot be treated as an individual or whānau deficit issue, nor an issue of an individual’s resilience,’ the case study says.

‘Growing tino rangatira in whānau is critically important to the work of the Fusion group. It is essential mana is upheld in the whānau we work with. Whānau are given back the confidence of their existing skills, knowledge and strengths.’

The Fusion group was established in 2012 when 19 young people died in Te Tai Tokerau. Since then the number of provisional suicides of young people recorded in Northland District Health Board has not peaked again. Fusion strives for zero youth suicide.

While the group deals with crisis situations, the post-vention work is also about longer-term support for rangatahi and whānau. Post-vention support in the community can continue for at least 14 months.

The Fusion group has a daily online meeting to keep eyes on those at-risk post-suicide and can mobilise when there are immediate risks to rangatahi.

It is one of a range of post-vention initiatives operating around Aotearoa New Zealand.

To read the full case study click the link below.

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