In 2006, 13% of all those who took their own lives in Australia had a family history of suicide. Bereavement is recognised as one of the most frequently reported negative life events preceding suicidal behaviour, alongside others such as mental and physical health problems (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007). 

The impact of a person’s bereavement can vary, depending on factors that may act as protective and risk factors for problematic outcomes following the loss (Brown et al., 2007). For example, according to literature regarding childhood bereavement of parental suicide, the degree to which a family experiences instability before the death of a parent can influence how well the remaining family members cope with their loss (Hung & Rabin, 2009). 

The experience of bereavement following a suicide can be intense and overwhelming. People bereaved by suicide may experience a wide range of emotions and they need to be reassured that they are not alone. The stigma associated with suicide can make it difficult for those left behind to feel that they can talk about their loss openly. 

For more information and resources, try the following:

  • Conduct a library search using the keyword 'bereavement' 
  • View profiles of National Suicide Prevention Strategy bereavement programs 
  • Read LIFE News issue 8: bereavement (January, 2010) 
  • Go to the bereavement services links 

Key organisations 

The following are some organisations specialising in bereavement in Australia and overseas.

American Association of Suicidology
American Association of Suicidology  is a membership organisation for those involved in suicide prevention and intervention, or touched by suicide. Information is available for people who have been touched by suicide in either their personal or professional lives. 

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement
The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provide grief and bereavement education in Australia working towards building the capacity of individuals, organisations and communities in order to enhance well-being following adverse life events. 

Compassionate Friends
Compassionate Friends is a support organisation that aims to help resolve loss and grief extperienced by families (e.g. parents, grandparents, caregivers, and siblings) following the death of a child. There are regional chapters located around Australia, visit the website for more information.

Good Grief
Good Grief builds resilience in and brings hope to children, young people and adults who have experienced significant change, loss and grief. 

Hope for Life
Hope for life provides bereavement support whose lives have been impacted by the loss of a loved one. There is also the National Hope Line which can be contacted on 1300 467 354 with suicide bereavement counselling available 24 hours a day.

Ministerial Council for Suicide prevention
The Western Australian Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention provide information and support packs for people bereaved by suicide or other sudden death.

National Association for Loss & Grief (NALAG)
NALAG encourage and promote professional and community education in loss, grief, bereavement and trauma.

Suicide Call Back Service
The Suicide Call Back Service provides crisis counselling to people at risk of suicide, carers for someone who is suicidal and those bereaved by suicide, 24 hours per day 7 days a week across Australia. Additionally, callers may be eligible for up to 6 call back telephone counselling sessions. 

Support After Suicide

Jesuit Social Services' Support After Suicideprovides support to people who are bereaved by suicide, including friends, family and young people, through counselling, group support and an online community website.