NEW ZEALAND: Suicide prevention training planned for rural health workers

March 04, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark News

Taranaki Daily News

Rural health professionals in the Taranaki region of New Zealand will be receiving training in suicide prevention as decreases in dairy prices and an impending drought affect farmers’ mental health. The goal is to prepare health professionals and Rural Support Trust workers to deal with a possible increase in mental health problems by training them to identify and respond to people who may be suicidal. Police, ambulance staff, faith leaders, school social workers, and Rural Support Trust facilitators may also attend the trainings. The Taranaki Rural Support Trust has been getting calls every day from people worried about someone who may be facing mental health challenges. “It’s going to get tighter and tighter and what is concerning us is how people are going to hold it together and not get angry or stressed,” said trust coordinator Marcia Paurini. Nationally, suicide prevention efforts have focused on youth, but in the Taranaki region middle-aged men are the highest risk group. According to Taranaki clinical coordinator Jim Dickinson “the work has begun but the solution lies in a cultural shift away from being stoic and toward seeking help when we need it.”

Spark Extra! To learn more about suicide prevention in rural primary care, see Suicide Prevention Toolkit for Rural Primary Care Practices.