Multi-agency approach to suicide postvention

Pegasus Health’s suicide prevention team is part of a multi-agency postvention working group aimed at supporting people and communities who may be affected following a death, or deaths, by suspected suicide.

Postvention refers to a wide range of activities which occur immediately following a death by suspected suicide. This is with the understanding that such a loss can have a harmful impact on the community, possibly increasing the vulnerability and risk of other community members – particularly, but not exclusively, for young people.

The working group includes several statutory and non-statutory organisations including Police, Oranga Tamariki, Victim Support, Canterbury District Health Board’s Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health Service (CAFs), Ministry of Education, and He Waka Tapu, among others such as Yellow Brick Road Canterbury who provide support for whānau whose members are experiencing mental and emotional distress.

Chair of the group, Pegasus Health’s Sean Wheeler, says taking a collaborative multi-agency approach has been key to the group’s effectiveness. “The group exemplifies how much can be achieved when agencies coordinate their efforts and resources towards a common goal.”

Pegasus Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator Elle Cradwick says the group’s aim is to facilitate successful collaboration between services, with the aim of minimising subsequent risk within affected communities, including further suicide attempts and suicides.

“Due to the diversity of our membership and our group’s central role in facilitating strong relationships between services, collectively we have assisted many communities to link those who may be vulnerable with the appropriate support services.”

Cover image: Pegasus Health’s Sean Wheeler is chair of the multi-agency postvention working group, aimed at supporting affected people and communities following a death or deaths.

Read the full July newsletter here