by Helen Martin
Bridge to Hope, the suicide prevention awareness team established in Helensville in 2015, continues to support families and individuals. The team of volunteers, coordinated by Marie Takefala Adlam, attend the Christian Life Centre in Commercial Road. They’re grateful for their church’s support, which includes provision of a designated office in a building beside the church, and access to the church building itself for workshops. Everyone is welcome to take advantage of the service, whether or not they are Christian.
Marie is in the office from 3pm – 5pm on Wednesdays and support numbers are displayed on the office window. Other volunteers help out by distributing flyers and attending community events in their bright yellow Bridge to Hope tee shirts. The team participate in Christmas parades and meet up monthly and pray for families who have lost loved ones to suicide. Bridge to Hope suicide prevention walks are held in Helensville and the team are very grateful for the solid support they receive from front liners, Parakai Pools and their families.
Marie, who wants to let the community know about the free service provided by Bridge to Hope, explains that her expertise for the coordinator’s role comes from lived experience and from her suicide prevention and intervention training, provided by the 1degree workshops, safeTALK and ASIST, run by Caroline Wilson.
As well as organising free workshops for the community, Marie assists people by helping them find the right support, which may be from a GP, or Waitemata District Health Board’s Manu Foto. Other help available is through a free text or call to 1737, a government-funded counselling service.
“My sincerest condolences go out to family or friends who have lost a loved one through suicide. Although I am not a counsellor or a psychologist, I am here to listen to you and can put you onto people who are qualified and more than happy to help,” says Marie. “It’s important to start a conversation about suicide. A meeting of family or friends can be very effective when someone is feeling low and needing support.”
The team would love more people to join. If you are interested in volunteering contact Marie by text 0211161054.
by Helen Martin