Reaching out the key to helping those at risk in the community

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It could simply be a smile or a nod, but the Waitaki Suicide Postvention Group knows these small gestures can have a massive impact.
The group provides support for those struggling with the loss of loved ones from suicide and discusses ways of developing resiliency in the Waitaki community. The foundation of the group’s community action is the idea of connection.
Chairwoman Carron Cossens said it took a whole community to maintain the safety of an individual at risk.
“The difference one person can make in reaching out and connecting with another cannot be underestimated.”The group responds when there is a sudden, unexplained death, but the plan for the future is that these meetings will not have to take place.
“We’re pleased we haven’t been needed so far this year,” Ms Cossens said.
The prevention work is done quietly behind the scenes but the group plans to run more SafeTalk suicide prevention courses. The talks encourage people to ask hard questions when they are worried about someone’s safety.
“The best postvention is prevention,” Ms Cossens said.
“We cannot understate the power of a simple conversation.”The group, run by volunteers and supported by the Community Organisation Grants Scheme, is running a free SafeTalk session on June 26.
A mental health support group runs on the third Thursday of each month in Oamaru, offering support to those affected by or with experience of mental health issues.
A suicide bereavement support group has also been established in Oamaru, and runs on the third Monday of each month.
“My co-facilitator Patrice Harrex and I look forward to making this group a continued feature of Oamaru’s social network,” Ms Cossens said.
“We can offer confidential conversation, caring and coffee to those impacted by suicide.”If you would like to know more about prevention, postvention or SafeTalk, or have some ideas to contribute to the wellbeing of the Waitaki community, ring/text Carron Cossens 027 282-0615. She can also be reached by email carron@kurow.org.nz