Grassroots Speaker Bios

Sandra Pell

Sandra’s dad, Alister took his own life in March 1997.
It was completely unexpected.

Life changed for her whole family that day, her Mum, her 4 siblings, their partners and children and her daughter, Rachel who was 7.

She was one of the first people to attend the STAROS support group meetings with her Mum and hasn’t left. Her Mum decided it wasn’t for her but Sandra found it really helpful and kept coming back. When Teresa moved away Sandra stepped in to help Warren run the group and ultimately became a trustee.

Sandra will be talking about how losing her Dad has affected her life over the past 25 and a half years and how she has learned to live with her Dad’s death and move forward with her life with the support of many wonderful people.

Jamie Allen

Kia ora; ko Jamie tōku ingoa. What a
privilege to be a part of this kaupapa - thank you for the honour of being part of Grassroots.

I am a loving Dad of four; a mass of grief and loss - including the heartbreak and journey of loss of Carrie, our daughter, is intimately woven into the story of the formation of Taranaki Retreat; as is the profound suffering and gradual recovery of our beautiful son. These stories, and those of our loved ones and community have been utterly formative in the Retreat's kaupapa of finding our way to hope through suffering. This timeout space, and Waimanako (where you can just rock up) is more needed in our society than ever as so many of us experience depression and suicidal thoughts; and as our communication becomes increasingly virtual rather than person-to-person. The Retreat is about the good stuff: walking alongside one-another - and sharing and dealing with burdens; finding solutions; exploring how we might tend the roses that grow in the manure of suffering.

I'm part of our support Team, and offer Workshops / guide some of our Peer Support Groups; I have never known a team or a community like this. It's a humbling and amazing place to be.
I am passionate about person and whānau-centred approaches to wellbeing in mental health, addictions and suicide prevention/postvention support. I believe in co-design and co-production models, where structures grow from the grass-roots as a basic premise of safety and delivery of trauma-informed care. I believe that, for the hauora of our tāngata whai ora to improve, structures (including funding models) critically need to change (and could change, relatively simply), to enable and support clinical and non-clinical supports working collaboratively for effective whānau ora. Bring it on...!

Suzy Heazlewood

Suzy Heazlewood is passionate about spreading the Antibullying/ProLove message.

Suzy shares her story about the amount of bullying and backlash she received for being on NZTV over 8 years as the face of Puraz and how the abuse nearly took her life, as Suzy became incredibly suicidal.

So grateful to have survived the ordeal Suzy has turned that pain into speaking publicly on any forum she can about how we treat one another online and in public and how the effects Continuous Bullying can have on a life if one survives.


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