Supporting Youth After Suicide
In the last year, over 600 New Zealanders died by suspected suicide. Every year, significant numbers of young people/ rangatahi become suicide loss survivors after losing close friends, peers, whānau members and/or loved ones, to suicide. Loss related to suicide can have a significant impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. It can impact their view of the world and increase their own risk levels. Young suicide loss survivors are often left trying to cope with big emotions, big questions, dark thoughts, and a lack of a clear pathway through. They can struggle to rebuild their lives at a time when they are coping with the stressors and challenges of transitioning into adulthood. Educators, Social Workers, Youth Workers, Counsellors and other professionals play an important role in helping young people navigate suicide loss. They can validate young people’s experiences, provide disclosure and presence support and help them stay safe, learn and grow from their loss and experience. This seminar will explore the issues youth experience, their support needs after suicide and ways people can provide timely, developmentally appropriate, compassionate and effective support after suicide.
Some of the key areas that Chris will discuss include:
- The nature of grief and bereavement and unique aspects of suicide bereavement.
- Different grief reactions and struggles/challenges youth experience after suicide.
- How grief theory and models of care can be applied in practice.
- The short and long-term support needs of suicide-loss survivors.
- Ways to help youth express/communicate/korero about suicide, contain, manage and cope with grief.
- Strategies for helping youth make sense of and integrate their loss, remember their loved ones, stay safe, hopeful and resilient.
Dr Chris Bowden is a lecturer in the School of Education at Victoria University of Wellington where he teaches in human development, youth issues, child and adolescent mental health and counselling. Chris’s PhD focused on young mens experiences of losing close friends to suicide. Chris developed Waves, New Zealand’s first national psychoeducational support programme for people bereaved by suicide. He is the NZ Academic Director for Mates in Construction Suicide Prevention and is also a member of the Mental Health Foundation’s Suicide Bereavement Service Lived Experience Advisory Group. He received a LifeKeepers National Suicide Prevention Award in 2018 and has won several teaching awards. Chris’s dynamic and down-to-earth teaching style combined with his passion for suicide prevention make this a seminar not to be missed for all professionals who support young people as part of their work.