Trust’s ‘bold move’ paying off

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Just one month after its launch, the Hope Centre in Albion Lane is making a difference in the lives of many Dunedin people.

“heart, soul and headquarters of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust”, the Hope Centre’s placement in the heart of the CBD is attracting plenty of attention.

Life Matters chairwoman Corinda Taylor said opening the centre in an area of high foot traffic amid shops had been a “bold move” that was paying off.

“We are definitely attracting a lot of attention, which is very good,” Ms Taylor said.

“We want people to know we are here and to encourage them to ask for help if they need it.”

The first of its kind in New Zealand, the Hope Centre fulfils multiple roles – as the trust’s much-needed new headquarters, a meeting space, and an information centre for people seeking help and concerned loved ones.

“This is the first time that Life Matters has had its own office space,” Ms Taylor said.

“Prior to this it was basically all over my house.”

Founded four years ago by Ms Taylor after her son Ross died by suicide, Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust aimed to ensure “nobody should die in despair and alone in the healthcare system”.

“Since we began, the organisation has grown exponentially. So many people continue to come forward with their stories and to ask where to go and what to do,” she said.

“This is a journey not to be travelled alone.”

As part of its services, the Hope Centre hosts support networks, bereavement support and education and welfare workshops, and helps families navigate complications in the aftermath of suicide.

The community had rallied “brilliantly” to help set up the centre, donating desks, a table, chairs, cups, glasses, paintings, flowers and plants, as well as funds, Ms Taylor said.

Life Matters was funded entirely through grants and donations, maintaining its impartiality, she said.

The trust did not have the resources to make the Hope Centre a permanent drop-in centre, but trained volunteers were available by appointment from 10am to 4pm on weekdays, she said.

“We always encourage people to ask for help. There should be no stigma and no shame in it.”

The trust has a street appeal day on August 10, and would welcome volunteers to help out.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating, or have any general questions, contact lifemattersotago@gmail.com or visit the website lifematters.org.nz.

WHERE TO GET HELP
Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor

Depression Helpline, phone 800 111 757 to talk to a trained counsellor

Healthline, phone 0800 611 116, if you feel unwell or sick, or need advice

Samaritans, phone 0800 726 666, if you need confidential emotional support 24/7

Youthline, phone 0800 376 633, free text 234, or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What’s Up, phone 0800 942 8787, for 5 to 18-year-olds. Monday to Friday, noon to 11pm, weekends 3pm to 11pm. Online chat 5pm to 10pm, 7 days, at www.whatsup.co.nz

OUTLine NZ, phone 0800 688 5463 (0800 OUTLINE), support for sexuality or gender-identity issues. Helpline available 6pm to 9pm daily.

Lifeline, phone 0800 543 354, or text HELP to 4357.

In an emergency, or if you feel you or someone else is at risk, phone 111.