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Tough subject in understanding hands

Jared Renata from MOSAIC is the new prevention/postvention suicide co-ordinator at Wairarapa DHB. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

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Jared Renata, the new prevention/postvention suicide co-ordinator for the Wairarapa District Health Board, says he knows of at least three people who have taken their lives in Masterton this year – and that was in March.

His new role means he acts as a connector between the DHB and people in the community.

Mental health, specifically men’s mental health is an issue that lives in a silent space, said Renata who knows what it feels like to die and come back to life.

Previously reported in the Times-Age as a survivor of suicide, he now advocates for men’s mental health, with the vehement drive to slow down the rate suicide is happening in New Zealand.

Renata said bullying and traumatic childhood events had impacted his life and mental health.

When you’re younger, it’s hard not to feel like suicide is a selfish act but as you mature you understand, an accumulation of traumatic or horrible events could start to take its toll, he said.

“When you get to that dark point in your life and you feel there’s no hope, no light – you just want the pain to stop.”

The father of two boys, 11 and 13, points out there are stronger messages in society that can make men feel like they are bad and unwanted.

He was concerned for his mates’ future but more so his children’s.

“You get told you’re the bread-maker and all of that. But when we lose jobs – and we’re going to see it soon with this coronavirus – people are going to be stuck at home and then we’re going to feel worthless because we’re not out there working.”

Wairarapa DHB service development manager Daniel Kawana said there were two parts to Renata’s role.

“The postvention side is about taking care of family members after suicide has happened.

“It’s about comforting whanau or family; providing support or linking them into support that is available.

“It’s also about keeping in touch with those people. Sometimes they get a lot of support in the beginning, but they don’t have that constant through that time.”

He said Renata’s job was to see individuals’ needs were met the whole way through their grief.

“Suicide prevention particularly in Wairarapa is about building resilience within communities and it’s about targeting particular communities with a focus on men, the rural community or youth at risk. It’s about designing approaches with those communities.”

Last year’s Chief Coroner’s report from Judge Deborah Marshall found that in the 2018/19 year ending in June, 685 people died by suicide in New Zealand, compared with 668 the year before – an increase of 17 deaths by suicide.

Along with men’s suicide rates being high in New Zealand, youth suicide also makes up a large percentage of the numbers.

Marshall said there was an increase in the number of young people dying by suicide, particularly in the 15-19 age range [up from 53 to 73] and the 20-24 age range [from 76 to 91].

Wairarapa DHB records show, 95 people have committed suicide in Wairarapa in the past 11 years.

Renata will fulfil his new role alongside his ongoing work with MOSAIC – Supporting Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse.

Where to get help

These 24/7 free phones are operated by trained counsellors who can help you talk through problems and identify ways of coping.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 [Available 24/7]

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 [0508 Tautoko] [Available 24/7]

Youthline: 0800 376 633

Need To Talk? Free Call or Text 1737 [Available 24/7]

Kidsline: 0800 543 754 [Available 24/7]

Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 [1pm to 11pm]

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 [Available 24/7]

Samaritans: 0800 726 666

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