At our meeting on 23/10 Rotarians were addressed by Dion Blackmore and Peter Barker. Dion was sponsored by the club to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. Peter is the Wellington Board Chair of the Samaritans organisation.
 
Since attending RYLA in Jan 2018 Dion has been on courses at Outward Bound and at the Aspiring Leaders Forum. He found both courses were very challenging but also provided great experiences. Serving others is the best foundation for a meaningful life.
 
The ALF course took place over 4 days and included a wide range of activities. Amongst these was time spent at parliament with MPs, workshops and sporting activities, community service and a barn dance. Day 4 wrapped up the course, leaving with the thought 'You make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give'.
 
Dion will be working at Morrison and Company over the summer and invites us to stay in touch at DionBlackmoreKiwi@gmail.com.
 
Peter's presentation was rather more somber.
 
He joined Samaritans 24 years ago and has held various positions both operational and managerial in the organisation. He highlighted the huge scale of suicide in NZ and what the Samaritans organisation does to help people that seek help in difficult circumstances. Samaritans are part of a global network that provides round the clock phone counselling for lonely and suicidal people. In NZ 1 in 5 will experience problems with mental health or addiction. In 2017 this contributed to 12 suicides per week a truly stunning statistic.
 
Peter stressed that suicides are preventable provided early assistance can be provided. Depression is often the first step towards suicide, marked by; persistent low, sad or depressed mood; loss of interest; irritability; change in sleeping habits and physical agitation.
 
Help can be obtained at www.depression.org.nz. Samaritans will listen and offer compassion and understanding. The service is completely anonymous and confidential. The organisation is always looking for volunteers who will go through a selection and training process.
 
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