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Unique support after suicide for New Zealand communities

Unique support after suicide for New Zealand communities

Skylight is pleased to announce that their Waves programme, which supports those bereaved by suicide, is now going to be more widely available throughout New Zealand, thanks to new funding from the Ministry of Health.

The Skylight Waves Programme is a research-based, grief-education programme that supports adults who have been bereaved by suicide. This programme helps people to develop resilience and understand and manage their grief.

With this Ministry of Health funding, more people can be trained within their communities to deliver the Waves programme. Suicide impacts more people than road fatalities every year in New Zealand and has a ripple effect like waves, on individuals, families, whānau and whole communities. Our programme recognises that those bereaved by suicide need extra support in order to manage their intense grief, and to help decrease the contagion factor suicide can have,” says Bice Awan, Chief Executive at Skylight.

On average, 10 people die by suicide every week in New Zealand. Research indicates that those bereaved by the suicide of a close friend or family member are at increased risk of developing complex grief reactions, including depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and suicidality. They need unique, targeted support to be readily available.

Tricia Irving Hendry, from Skylight, was bereaved by suicide some years ago. “One day I was a young mum with three children aged eleven, six and two. The next day I was a young widow dealing with the horror and tragedy of my husband’s suicide and looking to support my children through it all and find ways to help us all face suicide’s stigma. A programme like Waves would really have helped me through at that time.”

Skylight gratefully acknowledges the Ministry of Health’s funding contribution which enable them to expand the availability of specialist facilitated support programmes for people bereaved by suicide around the country.

Skylight is a nationally respected trauma, loss and grief specialist agency that supports over 16,000 people annually through difficult life circumstances. If your organisation is interested in accessing Waves programme training for your area, please contact Skylight on 0800 299 100.

For more information on the work we do and the support we offer, see our website at


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