A death by suicide can be a confusing and difficult time for many, especially for families, friends, workplaces and communities. Often people are somewhat prepared for deaths of elderly parents, of friends or family members who die following a serious illness, but seldom are people prepared for a loss by suicide. Sadly, it is also a time of increased risk for those who are directly impacted as they struggle to understand why it happened or what they could have done to help prevent someone feeling as though that was the only option.

Following a death, family and friends often spend time together as they work through their grief, offering each other comfort and guidance. However, following a suicide, people tend to avoid the bereaved due to not knowing what to say or do. For some people impacted by this kind of loss, it can feel isolating due to the stigma associated with suicide. It's important for communities to have the capacity to respond to families affected by suicide. As well as having someone to comfort them in their pain, families also often need practical support, such as extra blankets, a hot meal, or guidance around coronial or legal processes.

Developing an after suicide support plan can help guide the community in providing timely and appropriate responses to bereaved families. Plans can be developed for a range of settings and community groups, including sporting groups, workplaces and schools. If your group is interested in developing a suicide response plan, or have personal experiences you can share, please contact The Murrumbidgee Suicide Prevention Program team leader on 1300 111 400.

Wellways also delivers Creating Suicide Safe Communities and The Way Back Support Service.

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Wellways After Suicide Support is funded by Murrumbidgee PHN. The Primary Health Networks Program is an Australian Government Initiative.