Our Team

Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust was formed in July 2014 by concerned citizens wanting to make a difference to our suicide statistics in New Zealand.

The Trust was formed because there was very little support available to families bereaved by suicide or those that are suicidal. We provide much needed support and give a voice for the thousands of families devastated by suicide.

How We Operate

The Trust does funding applications to cover all their operational costs. Many generous sponsors have helped giving funds and also helping out with fundraising campaigns. We welcome donations which go towards training in suicide prevention and supporting those in need.

How Do We Serve Our Community

Our aim is to reduce the suicides in our country by promoting suicide prevention strategies, educating and supporting our community, raising awareness about suicide by breaking the stigma and supporting those bereaved by it.

Meet the Team

Corinda

General Manager

Hello, I am Corinda Taylor. My most important job is that as a mother and wife. I lost my beloved son Ross, aged twenty, to suicide in March 2013 due to failures of the system and individuals. Because I believe that Ross’ suicide could have been prevented and due to the lack of support after his suicide, I called a public meeting to connect with like-minded people. I am the founding member of the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust. My aim is to make sure that nobody struggles to get help when they ask for it. From this end, a petition was started with Denise’s help and we delivered it to the House of Representatives, and respectfully requested a comprehensive independent nationwide Inquiry into Mental Health Services to be conducted to determine if current services meet the requirements and if future planning is adequate to meet future demand. We hope that the growing nationwide support will help us to make sure that nobody should die in despair and alone in the health care system. Zero suicide in health care is my aim.

Kirstin

Chair

Kia ora! I believe steadfastly in the importance of volunteering and that improving mental health outcomes is a means to improve our communities. I am grateful to share my near twenty years’ experience in business management, pastoral care, and culturally/linguistically diverse project & programme management. I am a strong advocate for diverse and inclusive approaches: Each of us has a unique gift to give this world, even (or especially!) when it seems we have lost our way. Kia kaha, e hoa; we are in this together.

Denise

Trustee

Kia ora, my name is Denise Kent and I’m the mother of four grown up children, Kai Tahu. Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust is something that is dear to my heart as me and my whanua have lost people dear to us to suicide. I have also had my own journey bringing up my children alone and having to seek counselling for a time - that is probably what has taken me to this area of peer support and work. I have been involved in Life Line for five years as a counsellor and trainer, as well as the Tough Love programme once again for five years as a buddy and trainer. My area of work is peer support and advocacy. It has not been always easy for me as a mum, raising my children and at times also struggled to get them through their own black dog. I’m really passionate about the Life Matters’ philosophy and was involved right from the start at the very first meeting as a founding member. My role in Life Matters is public speaking, delivering safetalk, peer support and organising events. My wish is that we don't have to do this and that eventually we will have zero suicide.

Bev

Trustee

Clare

Trustee

Between 2008 and 2020 Clare was the Labour Member of Parliament for Dunedin South before retiring at the 2020 election. Clare was a committed local member of parliament, advocating and representing her constituents, particularly on issues related to housing, health, mental health and equality. She was a staunch voice for the South Dunedin suburbs, especially after the significant 2015 floods. Alongside her role as a trustee for Life Matters, Clare currently sits on the board of the Dunedin Night Shelter.

Kerry

Trustee

Kerry has had an extensive career in both the public and private sectors, with roles in office management, middle management, governance, policy development, advocacy, public speaking, and public relations. She has held leadership roles in a range of community Not for Profit organisations such as GirlGuides, Rakaia Plunket, and Rakaia Netball Club. Over the last 14 years, Kerry has worked primarily in advocacy and governance roles. At various times during this period she was the national spokesperson for health, education, and social issues, working to prepare and advocate on submissions to Government, undertaking media interviews, and writing a regular local newspaper column.

Michael

Trustee

Growing up in Dunedin, I have local roots and am grateful to be able to help where I can in the community. I have over 10 years experience as a Chartered Accountant and work with boards of both for-profit and non-profit entities to help them achieve their goals. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, a round of golf and mountain biking.

Ben

Trustee

I have been a lawyer for many years and I have seen the impact of poor mental health on many clients, their family and friends. I have also seen the devastating impact of suicide. I am sure we can do better as a society in addressing our terrible suicide statistics and I believe Corinda, Denise and all the people who have worked hard to set up Life Matters are on the right track, so I wanted to support them by joining the board. I am a husband and father of two teenage children. I work at Otago university in the Law Faculty and I keep fit through karate, football coaching and skiing.

Demelza

Trustee

Demelza is a Project Manager by day and a busy mother and wife the rest of the time! She is passionate about seeing improvements made to New Zealand's mental health system and has a particular interest in maternal and post-natal mental health and wellbeing.

Claudia

Peer Supporter and Administrator

Jess

Peer Supporter and Administrator

Meet Jess Ryan who is a University of Otago student studying Psychology. Jess is one of our trained peer support volunteers at the Hope Centre. Jess always strives to help others and make a positive difference in people’s lives. Throughout her life Jess has always jumped at opportunities to help give people who are struggling to be heard a voice, or be a listening ear for them. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to acknowledge and listen to you for a positive impact to be had on your life, and this is something Jess lives by. Jess wants the stigma around mental health to be challenged so that more people reach out for support when they need it. She is hoping the knowledge she has learnt from her degree and the hands on experience she has gained here at Life Matters will enable her to promote a positive change in New Zealand society around the views on mental health.

Macy

Peer Support Manager

Hey there! My name is Macy. I’m currently a first-year student studying Psychology at the University of Otago. I’m a local to the Dunedin area. Mental Health is really important to me and I really respect Corinda and the work the Hope Centre does.

Sidonie

Peer Supporter

Hi, my name is Sidonie and I’m a peer support volunteer for Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust. This role is so important to me, not only because I can see how many people benefit from the resources available at Life Matters, but how meaningful the support given is.

Kip

Peer Supporter

Hello! My name is Kiply Macdonald. I'm a fifth year student at the University of Otago, studying psychology. I started volunteering for Life Matters because I'm passionate about the vision Corinda has: to achieve zero suicides in New Zealand.

Joy

Peer Supporter

My name is Joy Larson. I am married and we have three boys. My son James and his wife Nina live in Central Otago with their daughter Willa, and Matthew and Angela live in Scotland with their son Cullen and daughter Lyla. Our eldest son Mark died 17 years ago. I worked in Education (Primary School) for over 25 years. I was involved with both children and parents and loved being able to help them. I then decided on a new direction and trained in March this year to become a Peer Support Person. I feel that I have a lot of life experiences that will help many people. I am very privileged to be involved as a Peer Supporter with Life Matters. I love the Life Matters philosophy and want to support those affected by suicide and or mental health.

Olivia

Newsletter Designer

Hello, my name is Olivia King and I am a recent graduate of the University of Otago. Being a psychology student, I have a huge passion for helping others, doing good and speaking out about mental health. I've heard of too many people whose lives have been lost to suicide, and when I saw Life Matters were looking for volunteers to help with newsletter and content work I went for it. I started as a volunteer in July 2018 and now work casually helping create online newsletters, work on training modules and develop content to promote upcoming events. I am so proud to work for a team focused on reducing stigma, educating others and most importantly providing support to those affected by suicide and/or mental health difficulties. I am loving helping develop and build the Trust by working behind-the-scenes and have learnt so much already. Knowing I am working for people who are so driven to spread support, love and acceptance is the most rewarding part of this role and I am so grateful to be in this position.

Cass

Peer Supporter

Hey there, I am Cass, originally from the outsides of Wellington, I made my way down to Dunedin where I am in my second year of university studying neuroscience and psychology. In between studying and spending time with friends, you will find me getting out and about and playing hockey and handball. Painting is another one of my hobbies.


Olivia

Peer Supporter

Hi, I'm Olivia! I am a student at Otago, studying Psychology and Education. I was born and raised in the United States, but I moved out to New Zealand after high school. I am passionate about mental health awareness and am hoping to become a licensed therapist in the future :)

Ryan

Peer Supporter

Hi there, I'm Ryan. I'm a student at the University of Otago and I'm currently finishing my Bachelor's of Arts degree, majoring in Psychology. I'm an avid exercise nut, so you will probably find me at the gym or jogging around campus. I became a peer supporter to learn about how to assist and support those closest to me during their darkest hours. Further, I seek to make a difference in the suicide statistics in New Zealand by making a significant and positive contribution to people's lives.

Isabelle

Peer Supporter

Hi, my name is Isabelle and I'm a Peer Support Volunteer. I'm a psychology postgrad student at Otago researching parent-child communication. I recently moved from the U.S and have really loved exploring NZ's beautiful nature! I started volunteering at the Hope Centre because I'm passionate about mental health awareness/ advocacy and enjoy getting more involved in the Dunedin community.

Lucia

Peer Supporter

Kia Ora! My name is Lucia, I am a recent graduate of Psychology and English from Otago Uni. Originally from Texas I grew up helping out around my moms green cemetery where I fostered a passion for mental health and wellbeing. Training as a Peer Supporter was a wonderful opportunity to further understand how to be an advocate for oneself and others and I hope to put this knowledge and passion towards becoming a licensed psychotherapist.

Hundy

Ambassador of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

Kia Ora. My name is Hundy, I am a Russian born kiwi who loves Ōtepoti beaches, whānau, to travel to new places, cosy sweaters and cheese. Mental health and wellbeing has always been a big passion of mine since I was a pup and I love to check up on my friends and flatmates. Come round the Hope Centre for a cuddle and a cup of tea!

Spook the Great Dane

Ambassador of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

Spook and Colleen are proud to be associated with the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust.

People love to pat Spook and chat with Colleen.

You’ll find Spook at many of our events or you can invite him to visit your workplace for much needed love and laughs.