We provide support after a suicide with our specially trained Bereavement Service Specialists. We have five specialists nationally and they are supervised by our Specialist Services Manager. They are also supported by volunteer Support Workers who have had additional training to help support grieving victims.
Our postvention, (support after a suicide) service has four primary objectives: to ease trauma, prevent adverse grief reactions / complications, minimise risk of suicidal behaviour in the grieving, and encourage coping and resilience.
Victim Support works closely with Clinical Advisory Services Aotearoa – as per our agreement with the Ministry of Health. We also work closely with, and have memorandums of understanding, with several District Health Boards.
What we can do following a suicide:
- police call our 0800 service and advise that suicide has occurred
- our Contact Service allocate a volunteer in the nearest town or city
- our volunteer Support Worker meets police at address of family or volunteer goes to address of persons who have already been notified by police of the death (we do not do the notification on behalf of police)
- the Support Worker meets with family, discoverer and wider network of friends and colleagues, and if the circle of affected people is wide our volunteer asks our 0800 service to dispatch more workers
- our volunteer Support Worker will have information (Bereavement Pack) to assist the family
- the Support Worker’s involvement with the affected persons is supervised by a Bereavement Service Specialist (BSS)
- the specialist and volunteer work closely to assess need and provide support
- risk screening undertaken – QPR (this stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide) is utilised when necessary
- length of engagement with victim is client driven as long as their needs are still within the parameters of what we can provide
- referral to existing community agencies and any local support groups is part of our core service delivery
- a six month follow-up with the affected persons occurs, to assess level or risk of adverse grief reactions and risk of suicidal ideation
- affected persons can all our 0800 number at anytime in the future to re-engage with Support Worker.
Note: people can self refer to Victim Support, and we also support those who reside in New Zealand but where the suicide of their family member occurred outside of this country.
Training of volunteers
Our volunteer Support Workers receive training on suicide as part of their in-depth initial training programme. This helps them understand how a suicide death differs from other forms of sudden death and the impact on victims.
Our volunteers, who come from many and varied backgrounds, also receive on-going support and training including individual coaching and debriefing sessions. This support is provided by our bereavement specialists.
What Victim Support does not do:
- provide financial assistance or budget advice
- provide counselling / therapy
- provide / facilitate grief support groups
- attend and support after an attempted suicide
- work directly with children aged 16 yrs or under
- notify family / friends of a death on behalf of police or others
- act as lead agency in postvention initiatives or prevention initiatives established by District Health Boards or other organisations (but we can participate as a stakeholder)
- pass on information relating to living victims we are supporting, to any agency or individual, without the consent of the victim (or our funder the Ministry of Health, the exception to this being when high risk of a cluster or contagion is evidenced, and where we have an Memorandum of Understanding in place with an agency).
For more information please contact one of our five Bereavement Support Specialists:
Berhampore (B) Peleti – Northland, Far North, Hibiscus Coast, North Shore, Waitemata, Waikato. Phone: 027 244 4200
Tala Leiasamaivao – Counties Manukau, Auckland City. Phone: 027 275 7435
Kiri Pardoe – East Coast, Central North Island, New Plymouth and Taranaki. Phone: 021 977 959
Russell Baines – Manawatu, Wairarapa, Wellington, Hutt Valley, Nelson, Marlborough and Sth Island West Coast. Phone: 021 343 328
Susie Milne – Canterbury, Southland, Otago and Central Otago Phone: 027 444 4265.