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A coroner’s reflections on LifeKeepers workshop

Tena koutou 

It has been said that coroners ‘speak for the dead to protect the living’ – this phrase captures both our duty to tell the story of the person who passed away and explain the circumstances of their death, and also to identify ways in which we can help to prevent avoidable deaths, such as suicides. As every suicide in New Zealand is investigated by a coroner, we are particularly well placed to contribute to the work done to reduce the rate of suicide in this country.

New Zealand’s 18 coroners were recently privileged to host Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave at a continuing education course where she outlined the LifeKeepers suicide prevention training developed and offered by Le Va.  This was an invaluable opportunity for us to get an overview of this programme, and to better understand issues in suicide prevention that are directly relevant to our profession. 

It also provided us with skills that are relevant to our personal lives; as was observed by one coroner, she had occasion in her personal life to use skills learnt in the programme in the weeks following Denise’s presentation. 

The simplicity and relevance of the programme was highly valued, as were the practical steps outlined. It was considered particularly helpful to have strategies to not only ask someone if they are thinking of ending their lives, but also to respond appropriately and support them effectively in that moment if they share that they are.

This is the second time we have been fortunate enough to have Denise attend an education session with us. We are extremely grateful to her and Le Va for making the time to educate us, and thus assist us to be more effective in the work we do.

Heoi ano, nga mihi maioha ki a koe Denise, oti ra ki a koutou te whanau o Le Va.

Coroner Carla na Nagara

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Covid-19 Update

Face-to-face workshops will not continue while New Zealand is at Level 4. We will be in contact with all participants soon.