Challenge Staff Undergo Professional Development

Challenge 2000 staff recently underwent the first of two professional development days with internationally-renowned health sociologist Barry Taylor.

Barry is a specialist in suicide, a phenomenon which has tragically affected some of the young people and communities with whom Challenge 2000 works.

Held at Challenge 2000 headquarters in Johnsonville, the training day focused on building resilience in young people. A sharing of experiences showed that this is done most effectively by fostering connection, hope, and a sense of meaning and purpose.

Barry warned staff against the dangers inherent in the ‘cult of happiness.’ It is unrealistic, he claimed, for any of us to expect constant happiness. If we want to thrive, we must patiently tend to the garden of our lives during the bleakness of winter as well as the thrill of spring.

Barry also shared candidly about the root causes of the psychic pain that leads some to think of suicide as a solution. Traumas such as childhood abandonment or abuse, rather than suicide itself, are the issues that need to be addressed directly.

Despite the heavy nature of the topic, staff spoke positively about the training. We hope that it has increased our capacity to assist the young people with whom we work, especially those in distress.

Where to get help 

If your family member or friend is at immediate risk call 111 immediately for assistance

Lifeline 0800 543 354.

Suicide Prevention Helpline 0508 828 865.

Youthline 0800 376 633 / free text 234 or email

The Lowdown / 0800 111 757 / free text 5626

Mental Health Foundation

National Telehealth Service / free call or text 1737 to speak to a trained counsellor

There are also agencies in your community who you could talk to like your GP, local Marae, school counsellor or social worker.