Shepparton Pathways to Care – Suicide Bereavement Workshop

StandBy Response Service – which provides support after suicide conducted a full day bereavement workshop in Shepparton on 27 March 2019. This workshop engaged service providers and community caregivers with basic suicide bereavement intervention skills and to enhance communities capacity to respond to suicide, trauma and related issues.


Suicide is a significant public health problem, both in Australia and internationally. Suicide-related behaviour, both fatal and non-fatal, has substantial emotional effects on family, friends, peers, and general community, and from an economic point of view, places a considerable burden on health care resources. Pathways to suicide are often complex and multi-faceted, and prevention strategies therefore encompass a wide range of approaches.

In Australia, the National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) provides the platform for national policy on suicide prevention. One such service functioning in many parts of regional and rural Australia is StandBy, dedicated to assisting communities bereaved or impacted by suicide across Australia. One purpose ot the workshop was to announce the availability of this service – via Lifeline – in Victoria: in the North West, Central Victoria, Goulburn Valley, and the North East.

Suicide occurs when a person’s pain exceeds their resources to cope.

It is good to read that the language around suicide has changed, to avoid presenting suicide as an option to deal with problems, and to avoid presenting suicide as a glamorous option to be emulated. The language is now straight-forward: ‘took their own life’, ‘ended their own life’, ‘died by suicide’. You can read more about this transformation of language on Huffpost, “Why You Should Stop Saying ‘Committed Suicide’”

The workshop examined risk groups and those who survive suicide: family, friends, familiars and work mates. These are suicide exposed, suicide affected, suicide bereaved – short term, and suicide bereaved – long term. Impact and discovery were examined, along with the roles and tasks of first responders – ambulance, police, government undertakers, funeral services, hospitals and coronial services. Acute support for those bereaved come include material and financial support, accommodation and shelter, cultural and family support, local GP’s, the school chaplain, grief counsellors and mental health practitioners.

The impact of trauma was examined; this can have either universal or communal dimensions, as well as individual experience. Loss is caused by an event which is perceived to be negative by the individuals involved and results in changes to their social situations, relationships or understanding.

Grief comprises the emotional response to loss; the complex mixture of painful affects including sadness, anger, helplessness, guilt, and despair. Bereavement is the loss through death of a significant other. Mourning comprises psychological mourning processes that occur when people are bereaved; the social rituals or acts that we do as part of our grief, and these may differ or be influenced bu our culture or societal practices.

Local Support for Suicide Bereavement

Many people are impacted by each suicide death including family members, close friends, kinship groups, colleagues and whole communities.

Support is available in the Goulburn Valley.

Ring the StandBy Support Mobile: 0439 173 310

Standby has resources available in English and other languages: see http://standbysupport.com.au/resources/
The other languages included are,

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • English
  • Farsi
  • Filipino
  • Hazaragi
  • Nepali
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese

To access these resources, go here: http://standbysupport.com.au/resources/