Recognised for work in suicide prevention

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It has been an exciting year for Mataura community development co-ordinator Eleanor Ranstead – she started her new job earlier this year and now has been named a runner-up in the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.

Mrs Ranstead was named runner-up in the community or non-government organisation health service individual winners section.

She was recognised for her work in suicide prevention.

The Ministry of Health website states Mrs Ranstead has championed many mental health initiatives but is especially passionate about suicide prevention and support.

“She makes herself available to support families or individuals at any time,” the website states.

“She has self-funded most of her training – this includes gaining qualifications to help others provide support for those who need it.”

Mrs Ranstead said she worked in the field of suicide prevention and “post-vention” and had been giving “SafeTalks” to various groups for about 18 months.

She had been involved in suicide prevention education for about four years, Mrs Ranstead said.

Her role as someone with “applied suicide intervention skills training” (ASIST) involved helping people who were contemplating suicide.

She was reasonably busy in this capacity, coming to the assistance of about one person a month, she said.

As well as being involved in the suicide prevention programme SafeTalk, Mrs Ranstead is a trained grief educator under the Waves programme.

Waves supports adults bereaved by suicide.

Mrs Ranstead said she was keen to host a Waves programme in Eastern Southland.

People who had lost loved ones through suicide needed more support than normally might be required in the case of a death, Mrs Ranstead said.

Her suicide prevention work dovetailed with her involvement as organiser of the Mind Matters support group, which is hosted at The Bunker in Mataura.

Mind Matters is a group for people suffering from depression or mental illness or having thoughts and feelings about suicide, and family members or friends dealing with the issues.

Mrs Ranstead said receiving the award was very exciting.

“It was really nice to see what the other volunteers are doing out there,” she said.