World Suicide Prevention Day 2018

Join us on 10 September 2018 at First Church Otago for World Suicide Prevention Day 2018.

This year’s event will have amazing speakers who will share their knowledge and bring us more hope, we are all working together for a safer future to save lives.

We’ll also have performances by The Suitcase Theatre, Lani Alo and Kylie Price and the KVC Kapa haka group.

Our Speakers

Sam O’Sullivan from Tough Talk is a clinical psychologist on a mission to improve the mental health of New Zealanders by removing the stigma surrounding men talking about their feelings, and by providing tools for the community.


Jamie Allen is an Anglican priest who gave up his job, his family sold their house and they launched into the unknown to develop the famous Taranaki Retreat. Jamie Allen is also the Taranaki Daily News Person of the Year 2017.


Klaudia Bennett is a school student, who will share her journey and beautiful recovery.


Matt Toa is a former Professional MMA and Kickboxing champion and co founder of Hammerhead MMA, a team who has many national and international martial arts champions.

Now spends his time coaching and promoting mixed martial arts events trying to make a positive difference to people’s lives through his beloved sport.

Has many life experiences that he has had through his career and looks to pass those lessons learnt onto his students and community.


Maria Dillon is a bereaved mother. Maria believes there needs to be more awareness that it’s okay to speak out when you are in an isolated place, so self-inflicted deaths like that of her son Harry McLean may be prevented.

Maria Dillon said she has to live with a hole in her heart the shape of her 18-year-old son Harry McLean, who died from self-inflicted injuries while a patient at Hillmorton Hospital in November 2013.

“With the passing of time you kind of build more layers around the pain of it, but it never goes away,” Dillon said.

The Event

This year we celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day under the theme “Working Together to Prevent Suicide”. This theme highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention – collaboration. Collaboration and integration at all levels is required, between government and stakeholders, funding bodies and public and private sector organisations, NGOs and those that they serve, healthcare professionals and their patients and persons at risk and their family, friends and co-workers. Only when we bring together the knowledge, skills, resources and efforts of wide ranges of individuals and organisations can we collectively address the challenges presented by suicidal behaviour in society today.

Life Matters are inviting agencies, businesses and individuals wanting to work together with us in a positive way to make this day a success and provide more support and education than ever before. Remember we keep this a safe event and it will be run according to the Life Matters’ ethos with safe discussions, support and literature.

Preventing suicide is possible and you are a key player in its prevention! You as a member of society, you as a child, a parent, a friend, a colleague or a neighbour can make a difference. The more that we know about the issue, the better we understand it, and the more efficiently we can cooperate to address suicide and the challenges it presents. There are many things that you can do on WSPD and every day to prevent suicidal behaviour, from raising awareness on the issue, by educating yourself and others on the warning signs and causes of suicide, by showing compassion and care for those who are in distress in your community, by questioning the stigmatisation of mental health challenges and illness and by sharing your own experiences.

The main focus is on support, remembering loved ones and what we can do better to help one another. This is by no means glamorising suicide and we are not selling products to make profit.

To help protect vulnerable people there are some restrictions in New Zealand on what can be made public about a suicide or suspected suicide. These are set out in Section 71 of the Coroners Act 2006. The Act was amended in 2016 to clarify the restrictions.Therefor we do not talk or write publicly about the method or suspected method of death in any detail because it serves no purpose other than cause upset.

There will be candle lighting and love tokens to remember loved ones lost to suicide.

Gold coin donation is appreciated to cover refreshments provided.

Arrive early to listen to Lani Alo performing on the grand piano.

More information to follow about exact format, speakers and times. Please save the date.

Thanks to First Church for their generosity and letting us use the church and Burns Hall.

Please bring along photos of your loved ones to place on our remembrance table.