Informed by the insights report following a co-design process undertaken across the Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu rohe (region), the Growing Collective Wellbeing strategy sets out a whole of community, whole of systems approach to suicide prevention. The strategy officially launched by Healthy Families Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu on the 6th of August, outlines a coordinated way forward for the region to reduce suicide and suicidal behaviours over the next 3 years.
Healthy Families Whanganui Rangitīkei Ruapehu (HFWRR) Lead Systems Innovator, Marguerite McGuckin has been leading the strategy development. “This strategy is a culmination of listening and talking with our community, with anyone and everyone we could. In order to create transformational change, the wellbeing of our vulnerable populations needed to be at the center of our collective thinking. And we’ve had amazing feedback from people from different places and spaces who have told us they can see themselves in the strategy” she said.
Community member Paul Baber, in his feedback, highlighted the point of difference in the approach “I have read the Insights Report and as one with 44 years of lived experience with mental issues, I can also say how impressed I am with this report. In particular, from my own perspective, it captures more accurately and definitively the experience of those who live that experience, than any other portrayals that I have either read or heard ... It is humbling and empowering that our voices are being heard and our input valued.”
Instigated parallel to the strategy development, the Tāne Māori kaupapa brought together men from all walks of life to provide space to kōrero, share and kai together. The initial small group of men rapidly grew as the kaupapa gained momentum. During the formal breakfast event to launch the strategy, four inspirational tāne shared their stories via the short story films project developed to support normalising vulnerability.
“The insights report told us that our men are struggling to fit into historically prescribed narratives, in order to create change we needed to create space for men to kōrero, to be present with each other, to connect and to focus in on taking care of themselves physically and mentally. And when we created this space our men responded. This kaupapa is about recognising the strength and courage in being vulnerable” says Marguerite.
Like the Tāne Māori kaupapa, a number of initiatives that align with the priorities of the Phase One Traction Plan of the strategy are already underway. Community groups and organisations in the prevention space have been onboard with the development of the strategy from the outset. The leadership within these groups and organisations have been quick to recognise the value of collective impact in order to create the strategic shift required in order to operationalise the strategy.
“We can amplify and accelerate our impact across the health and well-being system with stakeholders and community working together” says Change Agent and HFWRR manager Rebecca Davis. “Radical change, and that’s what’s required here, means changing not just our thinking, but also our practice. We’ve seen a huge appetite for change in our community and this strategy will help to form that foundation”.
Health Psychologist Barry Taylor who assisted with the technical and evidence base for the strategy is also very clear on the potential of this space moving forward “suicide prevention is not about stopping people from killing themselves but rather it is inviting people to live. This plan is the embodiment of that invitation and invites communities, agencies, services to go on a collaborative journey of transformation and hope. The framework is the waka and the vision, mission and shared values the guiding star”.
Copies of the Insights Report, Growing Collective Wellbeing strategy and further information can be found at www.healthyfamilieswrr.org.nz information about the Tāne Māori kaupapa and the video stories can be accessed via the Healthy Families Facebook page www.facebook.com/HealthyFamiliesWRR. To find out more or get involved contact Marguerite McGuckin via email firstname.lastname@example.org