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Grey Not Blue: Suicide and depression in older people - Rotorua

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Event description

There are some suicide risk factors that are particular to older people yet rarely are included in suicide risk assessment tools nor covered in suicide prevention training.

Many general population suicide prevention and mental wellbeing campaigns do not or inadequately address the unique contributing factors to depression and suicide in older people.

Studies indicate that the aged care sector is underprepared, the workforce under skilled and there lacks leadership to champion effective prevention strategies and promoting wellbeing in older people.

It is critical that those working with older people are:

  • knowledgeable about the latest research and understanding of suicide in older people
  • confident and competent in responding to the depressed or suicidal older person
  • able to implement a suicide postvention response and provide support for those impacted by a suicide death

This workshop is specifically designed for those who work with older people in community or residential settings in the NZ context.

Suicide in those over 65 is more common than is generally thought. The provisional 2019/20 suicide statistics showed that suicide among the elderly is on the increase. Often under reported, depression and suicide is a major mental health issue for this age group. Primary health professionals, support workers, aged care workers, pastoral care workers & clergy are often best placed to identify those at risk and to provide support and interventions.

Emerging mental health issue
As the baby boomer generation age, many will enjoy reasonable physical health, however mental health issues, in particular depression, will be much more prevalent. This is not just an issue for those in primary care or aged care facilities but is one that needs serious consideration by management and workers in retirement villages. In a study of the locations of suicide in New Zealand, it was found that apart from private home, aged care facilities and retirement villages were the most common places where older people killed themselves. This has implications for family, staff and other residents.

Impact of COVID-19
Due to effective pandemic control, the impact of COVID-19 has been limited. However as we experience more community outbreaks, it’s impact on older people’s wellbeing needs more careful consideration. Lockdowns, self-isolating and physical distancing has heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation, issues that already are major risk determinants of suicide in older people. COVID-19 related depression and anxiety in older people will be addressed in the workshop.

Suicide vs Assisted Dying
In November 2021 the End of Life Choice Act allowing assisted dying became law. The previous year's public referendum saw a robust public debate about whether people have the right to end their life at a time of their choosing and, if so, under what circumstances. It presented a combination of philosophical, moral, legal and ethical dilemmas. The public debate highlighted the common misconception that assisted dying equates suicide. Understanding the difference between the two is critical for those working with older people. While the narrative of a suicidal older person may be similar to someone wishing to take up the option of assisted dying when at the end stage of a terminal illness, they are quite different in meaning and require different responses and interventions. The workshop will cover the complex interrelationship of factors, the difference between suicidality in older people and assisted dying and the appropriate responses and interventions for each.

Workshop Description

This workshop is specifically designed for those who work with older people in community or residential settings in the NZ context. The identification and treatment of depression and suicide in older people is the main focus of this workshop.

Placing depression and suicide in older people in a social context, workshop participants will examine the factors that promote wellbeing and those that contribute to depression and suicide. Issues such a loss, redundancy and futility, loneliness and isolation, elder abuse, quality of life will be covered.

Topics covered in the workshop:

  • Grey not blue - Overview of depression and life stressors in older person and the risk for suicide
  • The silent suffering – Social determinants of suicide in older people
  • Suicidal behaviour vs Assisted Dying
  • Identifying suicide ideation and behaviour in older person
  • Support strategies for older people who are suicidal
  • Dealing with the impact of a suicide of an older person and prevention of suicide contagion

What others have said about this workshop

“A must attend for anyone working with older people. Learnt heaps”
Aged Care Worker

“Thank you so much for sharing your knowlege and passion. I leave with a new determination in my work”
Older Person Mental Health Nurse

“This is the first workshop I have attended that has provided such a comprehensive coverage of suicide in older people. Could see so many of the factors in the people I see"
Elder Abuse Worker

“This workshop is long overdue. For far too long the issues you raised have not been addressed
Older Person Advocate

"Absolutely fantastic. Best training I have been to in a long time. So much to take back to my staff"
Director of Nursing, Aged Care Facility

"Appreciated the way you did not pathologise the aging process and provided a useful model to understand suicide and depression in an appropriate context"

An opportunity for a day of learning with internationally respected suicidologist, Barry Taylor

Barry has worked in mental wellbeing promotion and suicide prevention/postvention for 34 years at the local, national and international levels. His extensive experience includes sitting on state and national government advisory committees; designing, implementing and evaluating suicide prevention programs; writing suicide prevention guidelines, training packages and community resources; providing technical advice to community based and national mental wellbeing and suicide prevention programs.

Throughout his career, he has been a strong advocate for more focused action on suicide in older people which he termed "the forgotten population." He is the only New Zealand member of the International Suicide in Older Persons Working Group. As a Health Sociologist and Public Health practitioner, Barry has a long-term interest in the factors that contribute to mental distress and suicide risk in older people, such as social isolation, retirement and sense of purpose.

He has led multiple ‘firsts’ in the context of suicide prevention and postvention both in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to mental wellbeing and suicide prevention, he was awarded in 2016 the NSW Mental Health Commissioner's Community Champion Award. He currently sits on the Health and Disability Ethics Committee.

After a number of years overseas, Barry is living back in New Zealand and is passionate about building the knowledge base, competence and capability within our country to effectively respond to the unacceptably high rate of suicide in this country.


In-person workshops can be delivered at GREENORANGE or RED

If for a public health reason, group gatherings are not permitted for groups of more than 10 people, the workshop will be postponed until the area returns to ORANGE or GREEN. If a participant is unable to attend the re-scheduled date, then a credit will be offered. The wearing of masks is discretionary but encouraged.


Places in each workshop are limited. If the workshop is full please register your name on the waitlist.

Payment: Payment is by either Visa or Mastercard. Organisations can request to pay by invoice. At payment method click on Invoice

Terms for Payment By Invoice
By selecting to pay by invoice the organisation agrees to the following condition:
Your place in the workshop is not confirmed until payment has been received. 
Payment of the invoice must be made within seven days of registering to avoid having your registration cancelled. Late payment fees apply.
By registering for the workshop, you agree to the cancellation and policy. Organisations who cancel within seven days of the workshop and have not paid the invoice for the outstanding registration fee are still obligated to pay the outstanding debt.

Scholarships: There is a limited number of partial and full scholarships for those wishing to attend the workshop. Full scholarships are available for mental health consumers, carers and volunteers. Partial scholarships of either 25% or 50% off the registration fee are available for full time tertiary students in health, social service and disability related courses. Further information and how to apply for a scholarship is available on the TaylorMade website

Cancellation and Refund Policy
If you are no longer able to attend the workshop please cancel your registration as soon as possible. Notice of cancellation must be given in writing. The following refund policy is strictly adhered to:
Cancellation up to seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop: 
Full Refund less $35 + GST admin fee
Cancellation within seven days prior to the commencement of the workshop:
No refund but registration can be transferred to another person. To transfer your registration log on to your registration and update the name and contact details to the new person attending.
None attendance on the day of workshop: No refund

Cancellation of Workshop by TaylorMade Training:
TaylorMade Training and Consulting (TMTC) reserve the right to cancel the workshop if there are not the minimum number of registrations. If cancelled, participants will be offered a refund either by way of a credit to attend another TMTC workshop (within 12 months of the cancelled workshop) or full refund of their registration fee. Refunds will made by electronic transfer into a bank account specified by the participant. TMTC accept no responsibility for any other costs incurred by participant as a result of a workshop cancellation.

Disclaimer: The information and professional advice delivered in the workshop and the associated printed material is provided solely on the basis that before relying on this material, participants should obtain appropriate advice relevant to their particular circumstance to evaluate its accuracy, currency, completeness and relevance for their purposes. TaylorMade Training and Consulting will not be liable for any damages of any kind to any person or entity arising from the use of this information. Your attendance at this workshop reflects your acceptance of this statement.

Organiser Contact Details 

Barry Taylor | Principal Consultant | TaylorMade Training and Consulting
Office: 04 280 0146  Mobile: 022 104 5060
Email:    Website:


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Refund policy

Refunds are available up to 7 days prior to the event