Listen: Colleen Fitzpatrick in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
If you are dealing with the suicide of a loved one, it is important to find support to make sense of what has happened, deal with your grief and learn how to live with your loss.
While people are aware of the role of the Coroner in investigating deaths it is not widely know they provide a range of support services including a highly praised service for people who have lost someone to suicide.
The NSW Coroner’s Support After Suicide Group enables people who have experienced the loss of someone through suicide to share, listen, give and receive mutual support. The co-ordinator and counsellors are all experienced counsellors.
Coping with grief after a suicide – a booklet describing the many aspects of the process of dealing with grief and loss-specific issues around a suicide death.
On ‘Open House’ Colleen Fitzpatrick spoke with Stephen O’Doherty about the work of the Support After Suicide Group.
Stephen O’Doherty was made aware of the NSW Coroner’s suicide counselling support service when he hosted the annual Wesley LifeForce Memorial Service at the Sydney Opera House.
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The service is an opportunity for those affected by suicide to reflect and support each other together in a spirit of comfort and hope. They are held annually in Sydney, Lake Macquarie, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin to remember loved ones.
The CEO of Wesley Mission, the Rev Keith Garner, says recovery or healing from a loss by suicide can be an extremely difficult journey. “The process of mending a broken heart does not take a week, a month or a year but a lifetime,” Mr Garner says.
“The road to healing is not only long, but can be bumpy with many obstacles in the way. However by drawing upon inner-resources and by being in touch with our feelings, we can find an appropriate attitude to the past, the present and the future.
The Wesley LifeForce Memorial Service is an opportunity to provide comfort to those bereaved by suicide, to help reduce the stigma associated with suicide and to honour the memory of their loved ones.”
Wesley LifeForce began in 1995 and has since trained more than 35,000 Australians in suicide prevention skills in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia. It has also helped in the development and ongoing support of 70 community-based suicide prevention networks across the nation with the number expected to reach more than 90 in the next few years.
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