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Last month we had Men’s Health Week in Aotearoa; a week to celebrate men, and to highlight the challenges men face in terms of their health.  This week often covers somewhat uncomfortable topics like prostate exams (Welcome - Men's Health Week (menshealthweek.co.nz)), that men are more likely to die from cardiac disease and that men are more likely to get diabetes than women.  Men are also less likely to get help for their difficulties than women; meaning that they are less likely to detect problems early and get early intervention.


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Are digital platforms all they are promised to be?

Digital healthcare and wellbeing platforms have exploded over the last decade so that there now appears to be an app or platform for just about anything. Workplace wellbeing is no exception and in Aotearoa alone, there are several platforms and companies offering wellbeing tools for the workplace.  Here are some important things to consider when exploring different tools, platforms and approaches to wellbeing.


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Bullying: a significant predictor of poor mental health

Friday 21st of May, 2021 is Pink Shirt Day. A day to recognise the impact of bullying and to help empower people to speak up against bullying. Bullying is a deliberate act with the intention to cause harm to another. Whilst bullying can be a one-off act, it often involves repetitive acts of harm towards another person.  Bullying significantly impacts wellbeing and can increase the risk of suicide through the bullied individual feeling disconnected, ostracised and worthless.


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In the past 10 years, 156 people in New Zealand have died in railway fatalities and 60 more have sustained serious injuries [1].  Whilst not all of these are suicides and exact number of railway suicides are not available in New Zealand, suicidal behaviour is a significant contributor to railway deaths and injuries.  In Australia, it estimated that between 150-200 people die by rail suicides per year.


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This week (16-22nd of November) is Transgender Awareness Week in Aotearoa: a week to celebrate transgender people and  raise awareness to the issues faced by transgender (trans) people nationwide.

So why do we need to raise awareness?


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Today is Pink Shirt Day in Aotearoa – a day celebrated internationally with the aim of raising awareness about the impact of bullying.

Bullying is not just something that occurs in schools and with young people, but also happens across all sectors, age groups, and forums.  Bullying has increasingly been reported in the media and it seems that we are regularly faced with reports about bullying being a triggering factor leading to poor mental health.  As we are more connected to each other than ever before (and potentially more disconnected but that is a topic for another blog), as it becomes the norm to hide behind our keyboards and revel in the distance created by a screen, and as we are encouraged to no longer be “polite, compliant” people but rather be honest and authentic, it creates an environment where people can be less thoughtful in their communication and potentially less concerned about the impact of their words on others.


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Recently, increased focus has been placed on the role of mental health in the workplace; recognising both the impact of the burden of mental health on the individual and the organisation and the subsequent stress that workplaces place on their employees.  Within New Zealand, the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) places responsibility on the employer to protect the health (including mental health) of employees.  However, many organisations believe that such programmes are expensive and that the cost of workplace wellbeing programmes outweighs the benefits.


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CASA is privileged to be leading the development and delivery of a free national Bereaved by Suicide counselling service on behalf of the Ministry of Health. We know that the loss of a loved one to suicide has a profound effect on those left behind – whānau and family, friends, schools, workplaces and the wider community.  Many people bereaved by suicide describe the loss of their loved one as a significant life trauma.   Suicide can affect physical, emotional/mental, spiritual and family wellbeing. Support to whānau and family, friends and communities can help reduce these effects and optimise healing.


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‘A story of two friends that gives an extraordinary perspective on what we can do about suicide’


Jessicas Tree


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Bullying is a serious and distressing experience that can occur in any setting including schools, workplaces and online. There is substantive evidence that both being bullied and bullying of others is associated with a range of negative outcomes. These include increased risk of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and it is associated with suicidal behaviour.


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Workplaces are an ideal opportunity to address mental health issues and suicide related behaviours with the majority of individuals who die by suicide likely to be in the workforce.  In NZ over a 5-year period, the majority of men in the 25-65-year-old
age group who died by suicide were in the workforce making this an opportunity for intervention

Construction


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CASA is proud to announce our NZ focused guidelines for the management of suicide clusters.

“We hope the guidelines offer a valuable insight and simple and accessible framework and resource to support communities to make sense of that complex situation of a suicide cluster.  Each community that uses these guidelines to save a life to suicide, means that there is one less family member which has lost a loved family member, one less member of a community who has been lost to suicide.  Therefore, these guidelines will be doing what they were intended to do – minimise further loss to suicide in a suicide cluster situation”


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The second season of '13 Reasons Why' was released on Friday, 18 May on Netflix.  All 13 episodes are available to view from release.  Given how controversial and potentially triggering the show it, it is important to be informed about the show, and where to get further support and information if required.


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We are naturally social creatures and biologically wired to socially connect with others. Nobody likes being lonely….even those who may struggle with socially connecting with others. We know that there are mental and physical health consequences of feeling lonely like poor sleep, low mood, low self-esteem, higher stress levels, as well as negatively affecting our immune and cardiovascular systems [1, 2]. The consequences can be different for everybody, and some people may not appear as negatively affected by their level of connectedness (we all have different needs and expectations).


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Suicide prevention strategies revisited: 10-year systematic review

This recent piece from Lancet Psychiatry reviews the current evidence in suicide prevention and tells use where the evidence is strong and where it is lacking.  It provides an overview of the current literature and the effectiveness of what we are currently doing to help those that are feeling suicidal...


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The Mental Health Foundation have launched a new resource ‘After a suicide for family, whanau and friends to assist yourself or others through the aftermath of a suicide of a loved one.


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Mental health awareness week is coming up in October (9th-15th) and this year’s theme is “Nature is Key – Unlock your Wellbeing"


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They say change is as good as a holiday. While that may be true in some contexts, most of us know that when the changes happening are outside of our control ‘holiday’ is probably not the term we would choose! Many of us work in contexts where there is significant change occurring. An unwanted side-effect of organisational change can be workplace fatigue (commonly known as burnout) which can manifest in dissatisfaction or disenchantment in our work, emotional and physical health effects, or apathy.


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Suicide is a complex phenomenon therefore approaches to suicide prevention need to be able to address this complexity The World Health Organisation has identified suicide prevention as a global imperative. Effective suicide prevention requires a vision, a plan and a set of strategies which can be achieved through a national suicide prevention strategy.


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Self Soothe Kits

A self-soothe kit is a great tool that can provide relief in moments of distress. To make one, you put together a collection of items that each function to soothe the five senses (smell, hearing, taste, touch, and sight) in some way. You can then turn to these items before, after, or during stressful events to help yourself calm down and feel better.


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