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I Just Want to Know Why? Making sense of suicide - A gathering for those bereaved by suicide.

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Event description


Often one of the first questions for those bereaved by suicide. A question which has “an unanswerable answer."
An information forum where those bereaved by suicide can, in a safe forum, ask the questions they have wanted to ask and for those questions to be respectively answered.

Having worked with people bereaved by suicide for over thirty five years, Barry has often received feedback that his knowledge and understanding of suicide and his ability to answer the many questions in an informed yet compassionate way was of immense benefit and contributed greatly to people’s healing process.

Based on this feedback and recognising a need, Barry designed this safe and supportive forum for those bereaved to ask all the questions about suicide that have perplexed them and to learn more about:

  • the phenomenon of suicide
  • why people suicide
  • what leads people to make the decision to kill themselves
  • the thinking process at the “suicidal moment”
  • The impact of suicide on other whānau members and suicide contagion

The forum is designed for people who have been bereaved by suicide - whānau members, close friends or others who have been impacted by a death by suicide.  However, people who are currently supporting or a worried about a person who is suicidal can benefit from attending the forum.

The focus of the forum is not about dealing with the grief of having someone die by suicide.  There are support groups to assist people in their grief. Rather it is about obtaining accurate and proven knowledge about suicide and what leads to people killing themselves.

Barry has delivered this learning session around Australia and New Zealand. He draws upon the latest research and thinking on suicide as well as his lived experience of living with depression and suicidal thinking and his pathway to recovery.

Topics covered:

  • An overview of suicide and why people kill themselves
  • Whose fault is it? An unhelpful question
  • Is suicide a selfish act? – Understanding the suicidal person’s thinking process
  • The suicidal moment
  • Copycat suicides and inter-generational suicide – why it happens


Barry has worked in mental wellbeing promotion and suicide prevention/postvention at the local, national and international levels.

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.

As a health sociologist, Barry offers an unique insight into the evolving phenomenon of suicide in the New Zealand context and the critical social and cultural determinants that have influenced it, insights that very few others trainers or training programs in this country provide.

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.

What past attendees have said:

“Thank you for your respectful listening to our questions and your sensitive and informed answers”

“I have learnt more today about suicide than any pamphlet or book I have read”

“So appreciative to have such a knowledgeable presenter. I could have listened to you for days”

“Your compassion and deep understanding of the issues of those bereaved by suicide was so evident in your presentation.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

“I leave today with a fresh way of understanding my son’s suicide. It’s as if a ray of light has been shone on the darkness of the past two years”

Got questions about the session? Not too sure if this is the right time for you to attend such session? Is this suitable for my younger child to attend? Barry encourages you to contact him to discuss any of your questions.

Email: barry@4wellbeing,nz   Mobile: 022 397 9294

No charge to attend. Please bring some food for a shared lunch. A Koha to cover expenses is always appreciated. Please register so to provide an indication of how many are planning to attend.

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