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

Kia ora, 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.

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

Administrator and Peer Supporter

Hey I'm Claudia! I am a postgraduate psychology student at the University of Otago. I've always enjoyed listening to other people's problems and I appreciate how uplifting it can be for others to talk to someone else about what is going on in their life. I love being a part of such an awesome team here at Life Matters and seeing the positive impact we have on individuals, as well as the community.

Macy

Peer Support Manager

Hey there! My name is Macy. I’m currently a student studying a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology at the University of Otago. I grew up in Dunedin so I'm a local to the area. I really enjoy helping others and being creative. I care a lot about mental health and have an interest in wellbeing. The work here is very rewarding and I enjoy being part of such a passionate team.

Jade

Administrator and Peer Supporter

Kia ora, my name is Jade and I've just finished my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Originally from Vietnam, I decided to volunteer at the Hope Center to give back to the Dunedin community that has given me endless opportunities over these past 4 years. I believe that every member of the community can positively contribute to someone’s wellbeing & not just health professionals. I ultimately want to support others and help them navigate the mental health system and get the best care possible.


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 the mental health system in New Zealand.

Bev

Peer Supporter

Hello, I'm Bev. I work for Campus Watch at the University of Otago. I've been with Life Matters from the beginning where I met Corinda and Denise. I'm passionate about mental health because I know things can change with a simple conversation.

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 2020 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.

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 third 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.


Samuel

Peer Supporter

Hey my name is Sam! I am passionate about mental health and love a good deep yarn about anything under the sun! I study pharmacy, play guitar & help serve in my church.

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 :)

Nicky

Peer Supporter

Kia ora, my name is Nicky. I have been tutoring until recently, including working for Te Whare Wānanga O Awanuiārangi teaching their Kai Oranga (Healthy Food) kaupapa. This program focused on the positive wellbeing of the individual and their whanau, including their mental and spiritual wellbeing. Therefore, I am passionate about the support the Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust offers when an individual’s wellbeing is being challenged or during a time of bereavement due to suicide. I myself, lost my 22 year old son Matthew in 2012 and it was virtually impossible to find support for this at the time and my mental wellbeing suffered as a result. Due to my life experiences I wish to support those that are also  affected by challenges to their mental wellbeing or by suicide. Training to be a Peer Supporter with Life Matters has given me an opportunity to ensure that others are not alone when things feel really bad.

Daena

Peer Supporter

Hi, I’m Daena! I am a postgraduate psychology student at Otago. I am volunteering at Life Matters because I believe people being able to discuss their life experiences and emotions is the first step to reducing the stigma associated with mental health. The team at Life Matters has created a safe place for people to be able to do this and I am proud to be a part of such a dedicated organisation

Darshini

Peer Supporter

Hello, my name is Darshini. I’m currently a third year Psychology student at the University of Otago. I was born in Malaysia, but my family immigrated to New Zealand in 2009 and I’ve been living in Dunedin ever since. I started volunteering at Life Matters as a peer supporter because I’m passionate about mental health and hope to make a  positive impact on every Individual we support, here at Life Matters. I’m also hoping to pursue postgrad in Clinical Psychology after my undergraduate study.  


Tash

Peer Supporter

Ki ora my name is Tash. I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Pharmacology and minoring in Economics at the University of Otago. I enjoy listening and learning about people's experiences with life, and how the world has impacted them. I believe in unashamed conversation around mental health, and that as humans we need to be allies, walking alongside each other in times of need. The work at the Hope centre enables countless opportunities to help my community and is a rewarding commitment.

James

Peer Supporter

Kia Ora, for the past few years I have been involved in this organisation at a volunteer level helping organise Collection Day and also Hope Walks; so it was an easy option to become a peer supporter. I wanted to get involved as I lost my grandfather to suicide when I was a child and have suffered from acute Mental Health during my teenage years. The impact of my grandfathers suicide and also my own battles had made me want to get more involved and support those in a system that is not helping everyone. In my spare time I am involved in many organisations such as the Valley Project and also the Dunedin Remembrance Army. If you see me around flick me a wave or a hello!!!

Emma

Peer Supporter

Gday, I'm Emma! I work as a Receptionist at OUSA Clubs and Socs, while also studying part-time towards a Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Sector Leadership through Open Polytechnic. I'm originally from Windy Welly, but am now in my 5th year down in Dunnerz. Mental health and wellness has been a passion of mine for a long time, due to my own experience as well as those of close friends and family. We like to say at Life Matters: "Even if we save one life, everything we do is worth it," and this is something that has stuck with me. I believe in the power of a simple conversation, and the Hope Centre is such an incredible and welcoming place to have these chats! I look forward to my journey with Life Matters and to creating positive change.


Mitch

Peer Supporter

Hello! I am Mitch, I am currently a 4th year student in University of Otago, studying an Honours degree in Psychology. All my life, I have been passionate about supporting others towards their mental health and wellbeing. My own struggles and personal experience with mental health have driven me to give back to the community as much as I can to support others with their own journeys. I believe that what Life Matters does is so empowering, and it is amazing to be part of a team so impactful in people’s lives.

Josie

Peer Supporter

Hey I'm Josie, and I'm a postgraduate student studying Psychology at the University of Otago. Aside from University, I also teach group fitness classes and pursue creative writing. I am super passionate about all things mental well-being, and I believe normalising conversation around mental health and support is key to breaking the associated stigmas. I've always felt like my main purpose in life has been to help others, and I instantly jumped at the opportunity to become a part of the wonderful Life Matters team. As a huge empath, I am here to provide a kind listening ear and aim to promote positive change. With a goal of pursuing a career in mental health, the vision behind Life Matters strongly resonates with me.

Ella

Peer Supporter

Hey my name is Ella. I'm from Whanganui. I'm 18 and studying a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I volunteer here to help out people who are going through what I've been through and help them see the light.

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.

Spook

Ambassador of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

Hello I'm Spook and I'm the Life Matters main ambassador. I'm a big Great Dane who loves cuddles and pats. I also love to sing out the car window when we go on car rides. My Mum Colleen and I are incredibly honoured and proud to be part of such an incredibly important organisation.

Tasher

Ambassador of Life Matters Suicide Prevention Trust

Hello I'm Tasher! I love to visit the Hope Centre and come with Corinda to Life Matters events. I love the river and going for walks. I also love to feature on the Life Matters social media pages. I especially like meeting volunteers and people who fundraise or donate to the trust. We always have a good time!