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More focus needed in rural suicide prevention

More focus needed in rural suicide prevention.

Regions across New Zealand are participating in Lifeline Aotearoa’s suicide prevention courses and Lifeline is hoping more people in the rural community will sign on.

“Working in the rural sector is important to us, six of our branches are in rural communities.” Says Jo Denvir, CEO of Lifeline Aotearoa.

“If we can train all rural first-responders and the Rural Support Trust in ASIST Suicide First Aid skills then we can make a real difference.” Ms Denvir says.

In the 6 months from July to December 2014, rural communities have tragically lost 14 farmers as a result of suicide. With the provisional coronial suicide figures sitting at 569 the need to get all communities trained is greater than ever.

“If we get the right type of support into these communities, driven and administered by the community until longer-term professional support can be engaged, then we can prevent suicides.”

Ms Denvir wants to encourage New Zealanders to take up the challenge and get trained. “We need people, organisations, industries to view ASIST suicide first-aid intervention skills as important as learning CPR.”

It would seem international research certainly supports her notion. In a ground breaking study conducted by leading suicide researchers at Columbia and Rochester Universities showed that callers working with ASIST-trained counselors were significantly less depressed and suicidal—and significantly more hopeful about living.


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