World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 – 10th September

Shining a Light on Those Bereaved by Suicide

This World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2019 calls for all Australians to work together to prevent suicide at a local, state and national level. World Suicide Prevention Day aims to raise awareness and start meaningful conversations about suicide in order to tackle the complex issues of suicide and suicide bereavement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison affirms that suicide is a “national priority”. To this end, the Prime Minister announced earlier this year that Ms Christine Morgan, CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, would be appointed to the first-ever position of its kind, the National Suicide Prevention Adviser of Australia.

In 2017, 3,128 Australians took their life, which equates to eight suicides a day. Behind these statistics, each tragic suicide impacts entire communities that struggle with the traumatic and devastating loss. The often-called ‘ripple effect’ of suicide touches family and friends, to work colleagues and schoolmates, to first responders and beyond. The International Association for Suicide Prevention estimates that for every suicide death, an average of 135 people is exposed to the suicide. Those bereaved by suicide are at up to eight times greater risk of suicide themselves and require our compassion and support.

Suicide does not discriminate, affecting all groups of people no matter the age, class, race, locale, and other communities.  Prime Minister Morrison states that it is “affecting our young people, our veterans, it’s affecting boys and girls in remote Indigenous communities. It’s affecting middle aged men, 45-50, living in suburbs.”

By providing the much-needed resources and support to those bereaved by suicide (in other words, postvention), we can help reduce the ‘ripple effect’ and prevent further harm.

Each one of us has a role to play in supporting our family and friends who have been bereaved by suicide. We can all make a difference, just by starting a conversation and listening.

Here is how you can take action and support the bereaved and World Suicide Prevention Day:

  1. Check in with your bereaved friend or someone who may be struggling
    Let them know that they have your support and that you care. If they are considering suicide, encourage them to reach out to an appropriate health professional – like their GP. Here are some further resources on having this conversation:
  1. Walk in solidarity
    Lifeline organises Out of the Shadows walks throughout Australia to remember those lost to suicide and to raise awareness. Find your local walk here: https://www.outoftheshadows.org.au/planning-your-walk/local-walks
  1. Practise self-care
    Remember to be kind to yourself in your grief journey. Stay connected and accept support from those around you. Talk of your grief and share stories with someone you trust and who understands. Make time to do the things you enjoy. Exercise and eat well. Consider a creative outlet for your grief such as writing or drawing. You may wish to join a suicide bereavement support group if you feel you are ready (https://wingsofhope.org.au/find-a-bereaved-group-in-my-area/). Seek professional help (such as your GP, psychologist or counsellor) or any of the helplines below if you are not coping.
  1. Sharing your story
    If you would like to share your story of suicide loss, remember to share your story safely by consulting the Mindframe guidelines (https://mindframe.org.au/suicide/communicating-about-suicide/support-for-lived-experience-speakers). WINGS of Hope are also collecting stories to be published on our website to remind the bereaved in our community that you are not alone.If interested, please contact us with your stories at contact@wingsofhope.org.au.
  1. Support children and families bereaved by suicide
    ‘Red Chocolate Elephants’ is an activity book and DVD resource for children bereaved by suicide. In a world where children are often forgotten mourners, this unique combination of text, pictures, and voices – all in the words of bereaved children themselves – will be a treasured safe haven for young people to hear their fears, questions, and difficulties put into words by other children just like them.You can purchase or donate a copy of the book and DVD for a school, a family, community group and assist those bereaved by suicide here: https://wingsofhope.org.au/find-out-about-red-chocolate-elephants/.
  1. Join us at our Remembrance Gathering
    The Annual WINGS of Hope Remembrance Gathering is being held on 23rd November 2019 at 11am for people bereaved by suicide. This intimate public event at Balmoral Island, Mosman is designed to reduce harm and sense of isolation in our community.Please feel free to contact our Project Coordinator at contact@wingsofhope.org.au with questions or to RSVP. Stay tuned on Facebook or our website for more information.
  1. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid
    Learn how to assist someone developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Express your interest for the next WINGS of Hope MHFA training by contacting our Project Coordinator at contact@wingsofhope.org.au.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by contacting:

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au)
Lifeline 13 11 14 (www.lifeline.org.au)
Mensline 1300 789 978 (www.mensline.org.au)
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 (www.kidshelpline.com.au)

For more information or to contact us