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Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009
Counselling service

Bereaved by Suicide

People sitting around on cushions, support group meeting

Those who have lost someone through suicide are comforted by others who have undergone the same experience.

Bereaved by Suicide groups meet at Mosman in Sydney and the Gold Coast, Queensland.

You are not alone. It has happened to others.

Following a death by suicide, many grief responses are significantly intensified and may be overwhelming. You may benefit from the support of other survivors and trained professionals.

Find out more about:


Feelings you may experience

Some feelings you may be struggling with if you are bereaved by suicide are:

  • inability to make make sense of the death
  • confusion
  • emptiness
  • guilt
  • anger
  • despair
  • isolation
  • shame
  • depression
  • abandonment
  • helplessness
  • disorientation
  • stigma
  • disbelief

Often children and young people will look as if they are managing fine on the outside. Reaching out is tough. You will need to help yourself before you can make a difference to others.

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How you can help someone else

If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, you can help by:

  • listening
  • accepting their rage, guilt, depression, self-centredness and blame-placing without judging them
  • letting them cry
  • not asking "why" or if there was anything that could have been be done.
  • encouraging them to talk about the death with any children - for they too need help.
  • mentioning the loved one by name.
  • including them in your normal activities.
  • realising that working through grief can take years and that the hurt is never forgotten.
  • urging them to wait before making any major changes such as moving, giving away possessions or quitting a job.
  • suggesting a Bereaved by Suicide Group.

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About the groups

The Bereaved by Suicide Therapeutic Groups provide a mutual-help psycho-educational program for those who have lost a relative or friend through suicide. The program is based on current research and best practise and utilises the Tripartite Process Model of Suicide Grief (Sands, 2008). Groups for children and young people are available.

If you would like the support and understanding of others who have experienced a similar loss, in a confidential and professionally facilitated group, contact us.

We are here to help people survive this experience and move on to fulfilling lives once again.

The groups, together with the facilitators, offer a safe environment to discuss issues that only relate to persons bereaved by suicide.

When a person dies, family and friends begin a period of grief. The loss of a loved one through suicide is a swift and devastating experience for the survivor because there is no preparation time for acceptance of death. Guilt feelings are intensified by the "if only" and the frustrations sharply felt due to the unanswered question - "WHY?"

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Some reflections of participants:

  • I am not alone in this pain. (Bill, 23)
  • I am normal and I'm able to cope through the pain. (Sally, 19)
  • I never believed this group could influence me in such a powerful and positive way.
  • Thank God for the Bereaved by Suicide Group, it saved my life. (John, 56)
  • It was tough going, but it opened me to live again. (Margaret, 29)
  • The group helped me have faith in relationships. I don't withdraw from my kids anymore. I'm free of guilt, the shame and living beyond the pain. (Jules, 36)

Contact details

Sydney Bereaved by Suicide Group
Contact Dr. Diana Sands at The Salvation Army Chatswood on Ph. (02) 9419 8695 or 0414 721 653.
This group meets fortnightly in the evening for between 10-14 sessions (including two Saturdays).

Townsville Bereaved by Suicide Support Group
This group meets Monday nights fortnightly in Townsville. For more information phone (07) 4721 0151.

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