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Foundation Urges Reform And Support For Suicide Prevention Office

In light of recent discussions surrounding the potential restructuring and closure of the Suicide Prevention Office, the Hatikvah Blue Hope Foundation wishes to express its perspective based on past interactions and the office's critical role in our community.

In August of last year, our Foundation faced the tragic loss of three serving police officers to suicide. Allister Rose, Managing Director of the Hatikvah Blue Hope Foundation, said, “During this incredibly challenging time, we engaged with the Suicide Prevention Office. Unfortunately, the support and engagement were less than satisfactory; our team felt belittled and overlooked, compounding our distress during intense need”.

Despite this, the Hatikvah Blue Hope Foundation recognises the essential position the Suicide Prevention Office holds within the broader mental health framework of New Zealand. The office has the potential to offer significant support to families grappling with the profound grief that follows a suicide, providing them with much-needed guidance and understanding.

As discussions of budget cuts and potential closures advance, we urge the government and relevant authorities to consider the retention and the vital reform of the Suicide Prevention Office to the police service. The office must adopt a more engagement-centric approach, prioritising active and compassionate interaction with those it aims to serve. Enhancing responsiveness and empathy within the office's operations can transform it into the supportive pillar New Zealanders need during their most challenging times.

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"It's imperative that the Suicide Prevention Office not only continues but evolves to meet the needs of those it serves more effectively. Our experiences highlight an engagement gap that, if bridged, could significantly enhance the support provided to individuals and families navigating the pain of loss. The office's role in delivering compassionate, proactive support can make a substantial difference in the national approach to suicide prevention." Rose said.

The Foundation is committed to working alongside government agencies, such as the Ministry of Health and the Suicide Prevention Office, to advocate for improvements and ensure that the voices of those affected by suicide are heard and addressed. We stand ready to collaborate on developing strategies that enhance the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts across the country.

The Foundation promotes the health, safety, and wellness of New Zealand's serving and retired police workers. With a focus on addressing PTSD and preventing suicide, the Foundation employs advocacy, case management, ACC signposting, and modern occupational health techniques, aiming for a zero-suicide vision within NZ Police and enhancing the overall well-being of the police community.

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