Bereaved by suicide
Grief after a suicide may be made complex by the presence of a range of powerful emotions. The bereaved may feel guilt for not predicting what was to happen or anger at the person for such a decisive and final act. There may also be a sense of shame at the perceived social stigma of suicide. The following resources aim to address some of the many questions and emotions those bereaved in this way are left to grapple with.
Where to start
You may like to try the free MyGrief App. This tool asks you a series of questions and then provides you with tailored strategies for dealing with your bereavement challenges. Developed by the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement and available for use on Apple and Android mobile devices.
The Bereavement Portal homepage has additional resources, including information on looking after yourself.
Practical information for the bereaved
Information and support pack for those bereaved by suicide (SA) (PDF 856KB) — Practical, South Australian information on what happens after suicide with contact details for a wide range of support services. Also includes detailed information on grief after suicide, tips for coping, and advice on how to help children and adolescents with their grieving.
Finding someone to talk with
If you are feeling overwhelmed and distressed, your GP may suggest you work with a qualified mental health professional with experience in grief therapy. You may be given a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan which allows you to claim a Medicare rebate for up to 10 psychological sessions per calendar year. (Note: Currently extended to 20 sessions until 30 June 2022 as part of the Government’s pandemic support initiative.)
Your GP may refer you to a specific psychologist in your area or you may wish to find your own. You can do this using the Find a Psychologist online directory (Australian Psychological Society). Search by type of issue, area of practice and geographic area.Information provided includes:
- Contact details
- A profile of each therapist including their therapeutic approaches
- Fees and/or Medicare rebate eligibility
- Telehealth availability.
Some palliative care services also provide bereavement support to family members after the death of a loved one. Contact the service to ask if this is the case.
Other forms of personal support
Online real-time support
- Lost someone to suicide: Suicide Callback Service - National free online or phone chat 24/7 as well as information on grief and legal issues.
- Standby: Support after Suicide - A free face-to-face and telephone support (24/7) service available to anyone living in Country South Australia who has been affected by a recent or past suicide. Includes ‘support pack’ information to download on a range of topics such as dealing with unanswered questions, the suicide note, managing social stigma and returning to work.
- Thirrili: National Indigenous Postvention Service (NIPS) - Postvention services including 24/7 call help for Australian Aboriginal communities.
- Bereaved by Suicide: Lifeline - Provides advice and contact details for whom to call if you need more help.
Face-to-face support in South Australia
- Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support - Peer face-to-face support group for those bereaved by suicide.
- MOSH Australia - Face-to-face peer support group based in Thebarton, Adelaide. Drop-in centre open 6 days per week.
- Bereaved Through Suicide: BTS - Support meetings, informal ‘coffee catch ups’, as well as telephone and email support for people bereaved through suicide.