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New Suicide Bereavement Volunteer Programme

New Suicide Bereavement Volunteer Programme

Image of Manaaki Tāngata Victim Support Wokers outside a wharenui

At the end of 2018, Victim Support was proud to launch a new pilot programme to enable our volunteers to register with Victim Support to work solely with those affected by suicide.

The programme makes it easier for people with the right skills to get involved as volunteers, and provides clients with the benefits of greater specialisation. “Less than six months into the pilot, we’re already finding it attracts volunteers who are really motivated about this issue,” says April Marshall, National Manager Bereavement Services.

“Volunteers are able to better specialise their training, build experience with relevant cases, and build closer relationships with our suicide bereavement specialists on staff. Most importantly they can respond more quickly to call-outs and give more time to each case."

Working with people affected by suicide is a unique part of our work and an area that many are deeply dedicated to. The programme has gathered strong interest with over 70 volunteer applications in the first two weeks.

We recently chatted with David, who recently joined Victim Support and has completed the new suicide bereavement volunteer programme in Wellington.

Thank you David for your contribution to Victim Support! Can you talk a bit about your role as a suicide bereavement volunteer?

David: As a new volunteer for Victim Support, I’m continually learning what I can do to assist those who have been affected by suicide in their family. What I have done so far is listen and support them as they continue to work through the grief, to understand there is a way forward while not forgetting their loved one who has died. For me it has been a learning curve but it has helped me to grow as a person.

Why did you want to be a Victim Support volunteer?

David: From a young age I have been bought up to serve my community and those that I come in contact with. As a deacon in the Catholic Church, I am familiar with supporting people who have been affected by death and loss of family members. Working with Victim Support as a volunteer is an extension of what I have done through life. In this role I feel that I can make a difference.

Would you recommend volunteering for Victim Support to people thinking about it?

David: We are all different but we all have something to give. I would totally recommend to anybody to have a go. To go through the training, understand what is involved and to realise that each one of us can make a difference to somebody’s life.

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