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Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Last Friday 10th September was World Suicide Prevention Day. As part of raising awareness in this space, our next Recipient Story comes from Taranaki Retreat. Taranaki Retreat are a kiwi suicide prevention initiative and one of our New Plymouth Chapter recipients. We caught up with Suzy to hear more.

Suzy works in the Taranaki Retreat. The Retreat is an initiative both conceived and developed in Taranaki that “provides a space to breathe for those going through tough times”. Their website says You are not alone; Kāore koe i te noho takitahi.

This amazing Retreat provides five- or ten-day free-of-charge retreats or “time-outs” for individuals or families. Guests range in age from late teens to seventy and come in groups, starting and finishing at the same time to provide group cohesion. They may be experiencing a wide range of emotional states including depression, anxiety, trauma, or grief. The Retreat also runs outreach workshops for day guests on topics such as wellbeing, approaches to managing anxiety, yoga, and relaxation, to name a few. The Retreat gives guests opportunities for working through their tough times and finding a way forward. Taranaki Retreat is in a beautiful setting, with views of Mount Taranaki. There are two houses – one for the live-in hosts, and one for the guests on their retreat.

The New Plymouth Good Bitches Baking (GBB) chapter provides baking almost every week of the year. Suzy says the baking is “incredible”. GBB have been providing the baking since the earliest days when the Retreat began nearly 4 years ago. The Retreat offers amazing wrap-around support for guests. Family-style meals together in the guests’ house are an important part of the Retreat. Sharing a meal provides support for those who have been experiencing social isolation. GBB's baking is often the dessert for a meal. Suzy says that baking means so much: “It’s beautiful to be able to show them that somebody does care”. A volunteer “has made it to show they care, and they are not even going to meet the person to be thanked.” Suzy loves opening the box to see what the baking is each week. She’s “blown away” by the baking, because of the care, thought and love that’s gone into it and because of “how long it must have taken them to make it look so beautiful.” She gave an example of a heart shaped cake for Valentine’s Day that showed guests how much care others had for them and says “they really are good bitches”. Suzy appreciates the ingredients list with the baking, helping manage dietary needs, and she makes a point of leaving the bakers’ notes out to be read so that their guests “know that they’re not alone – that someone cared".

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