New Drop-In Service For Whānau Worried About Suicidal Loved Ones


New Zealand's first support service for people worried about suicidal loved ones.

Are you worried about someone who is struggling? Do you want to care for them but don’t know how?

A new weekly drop-in session has started at the Rotorua Library to share concerns in confidence.

Supporting your Suicidal Loved One (SSLO) is free and open every Tuesday from 10am to 2pm on Level 2.

This support service is the first of its kind in New Zealand and has been created by Te Whatu Ora Lakes’ Suicide Prevention advisor Suzy Taylor.

Taylor says that her lived experience of having a suicidal daughter has helped her to develop the much needed group.

“My teenage daughter Georgia attempted to take her life back in 2016 and there was nothing like this available at the time.

“I needed to know how to care for her.”

Georgia died by suicide 10 weeks later.

“If I had a support space like this back in 2016, then maybe, just maybe, Georgia might still be here today.

“Over the past six years, I have witnessed the crippling emotions of shock, guilt and despair that are ever present after a suicide attempt and many of us are too whakamā (ashamed) to talk about it and this can lead to our suicidal loved one feeling isolated and alone.”

Suzy is joined in this service by Dallas Te Aonui and Rosie Katene from Te Arawa Whānau Ora and Rotorua health improvement practitioner Belinda McEwen from Rotorua Area Primary Health Services.

“I’ve come to realise that working in a roopu (group) like this is part of my life plan,” says Te Aonui.

“To awhi (care for) and tautoko (support) whānau and to help open up the communication channels because kōrero (talking) is not present when this is happening.”

Katene says that services are so overwhelmed at present and this support service is one more way for health professionals to reach out to whānau.

She says, having these courageous conversations can help offer the right tools to heal.

Health Improvement Practitioner Belinda McEwen says she was drawn to this work following personal experience with whānau.

“In my role I support people with distress of any kind,” she says.

“It is a privilege to be a part of this group and be part of the solution to a very challenging time in peoples' lives.

“Seeing people turn their lives around and knowing their whānau have supported them, there is no better feeling.

“It brings people together and builds connections and trust.”

A similar group is planned for the Taupō Tūrangi area next year.

Contact Suzy Taylor on 0272850061 or at for more details.

Photo: (From left) Dallas Te Aonui (Te Arawa Whānau Ora), Suzy Taylor (Te Whatu Ora Lakes), Belinda McEwen (RAPHS) and Rosie Katene (Te Arawa Whānau Ora) have come together to offer support for the Supporting your Suicidal Loved One drop-in space.