Amber McGrail, Shining Light on the Dark Matamata-Piako founder, with Mata Digital managing director Tim Hampton.



Theimportance of work undertaken by a suicide prevention group in the Waikato hithome with Mata Digital.

Managingdirector Tim Hampton had no hesitation in providing his company’s websitedesign and development expertise free of charge to Shining Light on the DarkMatamata-Piako

Thenon-profit organisation aims to raise awareness and support to “find a waythrough the dark” for those suffering mental health issues.

“This issuch an important initiative for an issue we struggle to face and understand,even in today’s society,” says Tim.

“I am soglad we were able to provide our services to the group, and also want tosupport its wonderful work as much as possible in the future.”

The website outlines the work, aims andobjectives of Shining Light on the Dark Matamata-Piako.

Organisershope it will grow in strength in the area through support networks, workshops, communicationand working alongside support services.

“Enough isenough. We are impassioned for people to get the support they need, be it forthose suffering, or the family and friends affected.”

The groupsays mental health is an illness that needs to be acknowledged.

There were685 reported suicides in New Zealand in the year to June 30, 2019, up 17 on theprevious year and the highest since records began 12 years ago.

Thisincludes a disproportionately high number for Maori, Pacific Islanders andteenagers.

Given thedemographic make-up of Matamata-PIako, Shining Light on the Dark is alsoplacing an emphasis on support for rural residents.

In 2018, 20farmers in New Zealand took their own lives. Eighteen were men and five werefrom the Waikato (the highest of any region). Six were aged 15-24.

The firstShining Light on the Dark group was formed on the West Coast of the SouthIsland in 2017, later extending to South Waikato and Matamata-Piako.

Matamataresident Amber McGrail, whose best friend committed suicide 11 years ago,attended the inaugural South Waikato event in 2018 and brought the concept toMatamata-Piako in 2019 with help from other friends.

The group’sinaugural community awareness event is a Gumboot Fun Run on November 1.

Starting at5pm (registration), Bedford Park in Matamata will host an obstacle course forgumboot-clad competitors.

The firstlap (6pm) will be “non-silence”, where organisers say everyone can make as muchnoise as possible.

The event,which runs until 8.30pm-9pm, also features entertainment, guest speakers andfood stalls.



1737, Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trainedcounsellor

Lifeline –0800 543 354

Youthline –0800 376 633, free text 234 or email or online chat

Samaritans – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

What's Up – 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18 year olds). Phone counselling isavailable Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat isavailable 7pm–10pm daily.

Kidsline –0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open24/7. – or email or free text 5626

Anxiety New Zealand - 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)

Rural Support Trust - 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Supporting Families in Mental Illness - 0800 732 825