Support after suicide

"When you are in shock, your brain shuts down and simple things become really difficult...You just need one place to go to so you can get the information you need." - Jo, bereaved 2018, mother of two (10 & 14 yo)

Here is some useful information for people who have lost someone to suicide or those who are supporting them.

Practical stuff: what happens now, what do I need to do

Looking after yourself

Connect with others

What about the kids?

What about work and study?

I know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide: what should I do, what should I say?

If you want to read more about suicide bereavement


Practical stuff

"I wish I had known that there were more support services available for me and the kids - financial and otherwise." - Jodi, bereaved 2013, mother of two
Info and support pack

What happens now?

Click here to access the Bereavement Information & Support pack that includes information on:

  • What happens in the first 24 hours (page 3 - 4)
  • The coronial process (page 5 - 6)
  • And more


legal advice

Legal stuff

Other things to think about:

  • Find a local Justice of the Peace to authorise copies of the death, marriage certificates et 
  • Talk to someone about Wills, Estate & Custody.
  • Get legal advise from an estate lawyer.
  • Close social media & email accounts.

Looking after yourself

"Your body and mind does extremely strange things. It is normal to experience strange mind and body experiences. A therapist can help normalise this - it is such a relief." - Bridie, lost brother to suicide in 2016. 
GP talking to patient

Talk to a health professional

Suicide bereavement can be an incredibly difficult experience, and sometimes you may need some extra support from a health professional.

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Aboriginal services

Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service - 4229 9495

South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation  (Shoalhaven) - 1800 215 099

Waminda (Shoalhaven) - Aboriginal women's health and welfare service call 4421 7400. For After Hours support call 1800 953 736

Aboriginal Legal Service:

  • 1800 765 767 (police charges / court matters)
  • 1800 733 233 (care / protection / family matters)

Looking at phone 510693224

Multicultural services

Illawarra Shoalhaven Multicultural Health (health services) - 4221 6770

Illawarra Multicultural Services (social support) - 4229 685

Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra (social support & training) - 4229 7566

SCARF (social support for refugees) - 4424 8646

STARTTS (torture / trauma survivors) - 9057 7380

Connect with others

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Peer support groups

There are a number of local suicide bereavement groups across the region:

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Connect online

 There are also groups and networks you can connect with online. Here are two you may find useful:

What about the kids?

"I have always been honest when I answer their questions. The best comparison I can give is sex. You don’t tell a 5 year old the same level of detail as a 15 year old, but you still give them honest information - enough that they can absorb it but not be misinformed or overwhelmed" - Jodi, bereaved 2013, mother of two
"I held nothing back (kids were 10 and 14) I told them what I knew when I found it out.  I tried to be as honest as I could while keeping as straight forward as I could." - Jo, bereaved 2018, mother of two
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What do I say?

The idea of talking to children about suicide is daunting. Here are some websites & resources that can help:

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Someone to talk to

Local psychology practices who see children & families bereaved by suicide:

National services for kids:

  • Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 (5-25 year olds)
  • eheadspace - free online and telephone support and counselling to young people 12 - 25 and their families and friends.


Thriving Kids Squad

Programs for kids


What about work & study?

"Being able to go back to work was important to me as it gave me a routine and helped me feel like I was achieving something when everything else felt like it had fallen apart." - Jodi, bereaved 2013, mother of two
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What should I do about work?

Resuming your normal routine can help you to cope with the grief and feel a sense of normalcy in your life. But going back to the workplace following the suicide of a loved one can be daunting.

Things to think about:

What you're entitled to:

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What should I do about study?

If you (or your child) is a student you should be able to access support to help you manage your study commitments. This could include:

  • extension of deadlines
  • counselling services
  • putting courses on hold

As this varies by age and institution it is recommended that you advise them of the death and specifically ask what support is available to you or your child. 

Supporting someone bereaved by suicide

"At first I needed other people to help take care of me with the basics of getting small amounts of healthy food and plenty of water into me, and to try to sleep...My friend who would sit next to me, walk beside me, listen to silence on the other end of the phone for hours, let me know I didn’t have to do this alone." - Bronwen, lost brother to suicide in 2008
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What can I do or say?

When a suicide occurs, it can have a devastating effect on family members, friends and others who knew the person. You might not know what to say or what to do when this happens. While everyone is different, and will grieve differently, there are some things you can do and say to support someone you know who is bereaved by suicide.

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For managers & coworkers

There are a number of things you can do to support a colleague bereaved by suicide, and some that you should avoid.

If you want to read more about suicide bereavement

See below some other videos, books and resources you may find useful.


The Journey through loss and grief

We don't "move on" from grief, we move forward


Talking to children and young people about suicide

Why people die by suicide

- Coping with grief after suicide

Online resources:

- The Reality Slap - how to deal with unexpected change.