Workshop to focus on solutions


A LEADING international suicide prevention therapist will be in Invercargill next month to lead a solutions-focused workshop.

Preventing Suicide: The Solution Focused Approach will be led by United Kingdom author and mental health advocate John Henden, who is currently touring the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Henden said he had been running workshops on the solution-focused approach in 20 countries for the past 24 years and in Finland had trained more than 1000 therapists, counsellors and mental health practitioners during the past decade.

Presented by The Loss and Grief Centre, the workshop would include the basics of the solution-focused approach to depression and suicide prevention, and participants would be given about 15 tools and techniques.

They would also be supplied with a good range of handouts to take away for future use and would be involved in paired work, practised exercises in threes and small discussion groups, he said.

The Invercargill workshop will be held at the Ascot Park Hotel on February 12, 9am-4.30pm.

Mr Henden said he was also hoping for a “much greater” turnout from staff working at the country’s district health boards (DHBs) this year.

“I’m hoping for around 500 participants in total, across both the South and North Islands. My personal target is for more than 100 [DHB staff].”

Mental health promotion officer for Public Health South Andrae Gold said almost 40 people had so far registered for the Invercargill workshop and of those about 12 were Southern District Health Board contracted staff.

Suicide prevention was not just a problem for front-line mental health services staff at DHBs, and she had been pleased to see people from a range of services in the community were also signing up to attend.

“It’s not just about in-patient services. We need to be building capacity in the community, so it’s good to see [other organisations] upskilling their staff as well.”

Several sectors were usually represented at Mr Henden’s events, including charities, not-for-profit organisations, Helpline volunteers, social workers, police, support workers, DHBs and those with lived-experience of mental health.

Mr Henden is the author of Preventing Suicide: The Solution Focused Approach, published in 2008 and now in its second edition.

Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust member Corinda Taylor said Mr Henden would also have signed copies of his new book, What it Takes to Thrive, available at the workshop.

Workshop tickets cost $99 per person.

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