Postvention Australia


Christmas Edition - December 2016


Christmas Message

What are you doing this Christmas? With whom are you celebrating?

For most of us, Christmas is a time of celebration with loved ones and friends, but for many, it will be a time of reflection and sadness, remembering a loved one who is no longer with them to celebrate on Christmas Day.

Do not think about the long road ahead, but greet and experience this Christmas with expectant hope, knowing that you are not alone. We are here to help you in your grief journey any time of the day or night. I can be contacted on 0412 164 575 for a listening ear.

Have a wonderful Christmas Season
I wish you and your family
a happy and a joyous Christmas
and best wishes to you for 2017.

Alan Staines
National Secretary

Together We Can Make A Difference

It is only as we share and support each other that we can make a real difference in reducing the high toll of the loss through suicide. No organisation can do it alone. There are so many that are falling between the cracks and receiving no help whatsoever. Our goal is to bridge this gap and provide clear pathways to hope and healing.

Suicide is everybody’s business. Through collaboration, we can and must reach out to those who are in urgent need of support.

Postvention Australia's primary goal is to provide support and comfort to the bereaved by suicide. Our objective is to be the national voice in supporting the bereaved by suicide, which includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Emergency Service personnel, and Military personnel, by listening to the bereaved with compassion and understanding. Postvention Australia's vision is “Reducing the impact of suicide by establishing a network that provides best practice postvention information and services, holistic, physical, emotional and spiritual support, comfort and understanding for the health and well-being of all Australians affected by a suicide death.”

There are many things that you and I can do that would make a real difference in the lives of those impacted by suicide. Bring a meal over for your friend who has lost a loved one to suicide, or simply be there to listen.

Life is more about giving than getting. See who you could help today.


Opportunities are available to become a member of Postvention Australia. This includes Bereaved by Suicide membership (free), Individual membership and Organisational Membership.


Postvention can’t continue to provide services without the generous support of people just like you. Please take time to make a donation to Postvention Australia this Christmas. Donations are tax deductible.

A Christmas Memorial Wreath

A Christmas wreath is a traditional part of Christmas in many homes.  It is a simple ornamented wreath in which you can place four candles.  The wreath may be placed on a table or in a special place around your Christmas tree.  As you light each candle this year you may create a new ritual, which will become a lasting tradition for your Christmas.  We hope this memorial will help you include your loved one in celebration.
As we light these four candles in honour of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories and one for our love:

• This first candle represents our grief.  The pain of losing you is intense.  It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

• This second candle represents our courage: to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other and to change our lives.

• This third candle we light in your memory: the times we laughed, the times we cried, the caring and joy you gave us.

• This fourth candle we light for our love.  As we enter this Christmas season, we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you.  We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us. 

We love you. 
We remember you

The 5th Australian Postvention Conference

On behalf of Professor Diego de Leo and the Board members of Postvention Australia, an invitation is extended to you to participate at the 5th Australian Postvention Conference. The 5th Australian Postvention Conference will be held at the University of New South Wales from Thursday 23rd March - Saturday 25th March 2017. Conference registration and information can be found on the conference website. You cannot afford to miss this conference - it will be stimulating and educational.

This year's theme is 'Hope and Healing - Surviving the Impact of Suicide'. The conference provides comfort, hope and healing for those bereaved by suicide, as well as providing education, information and opportunities for collaboration for those supporting the bereaved by suicide. This is to facilitate resilience and equip the bereaved with skills to survive the impact of their loved ones suicide.

We are honoured to have as our guest plenary and workshop presenters, recognised as experts in the field of suicide prevention and bereavement support. They include:

• John McIntosh (Psychology, University of South Bend) (U.S.A)

• Dr Amy Chow (Assoc. Prof, Social Work and Administration, University of Hong Kong, Chairperson, International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement) (Hong Kong)

• Dr Paul Quinnett (Founder and CEO, QPR Institute) (U.S.A)

• Kim Ruocco (External Relations Officers for Suicide Prevention and Postvention, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)) (Military focus) (U.S.A)

• Prof. Diego De Leo (Director Emeritus of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention, Past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention)

• Prof. Judith Murray (Counselling and Counselling Psychology, University of Queensland)

• Chief Inspector Gary Raymond (Retd) (Emergency Services focus)

• Prof. Ian Webster (Past Chair, Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council

• Louise Flynn (Manager, Support After Suicide from Jesuit Social Services)

• Dr Diana Sands (Director, Bereaved by Suicide Centre for Intense Grief)

• Prof. Judy Atkinson (Masters in Indigenous Studies and Bachelor in Trauma and Healing)

Read Testimonial and More

Ten tips for coping with Christmas after loss

Anne Thorn

Anne Thorn, who lost both her son and her father in the last few years, shares her advice on how to get through the holiday period without the ones you love

  1. DO talk to your friends and family. They will be grateful if you tell them what you need as they care about you and will be conscious of your loss. Just because they don’t mention it, it doesn’t mean they don’t care – it just means they don’t know what to say and are afraid of upsetting you.

Read More

6 steps to surviving the holiday season after loss

Donna Mebane
For years, I made my children listen to Bing Crosby as we decorated the Christmas tree. One day, I reasoned, I would be gone and I imagined them downloading ‘ole Bing and carrying on the tradition with their own children. When they got to the song, “Think of Me” they’d pause, shed a little tear, think of all the good times we had, and be sorry they complained incessantly about it so many years before. Three years ago, my youngest child, Emma, died. She was 19 years old. I no longer put up a Christmas tree. Perhaps someday I will again. But I know I will never, ever again listen to Bing Crosby.

Read More

Helping grieving children through the holidays

Jodi Rule-Rouse and Linda Ranson Jacobs

Adults play an important role in helping children grieve, especially over the holidays when new emotions and memories can hit with full force. Children often have trouble expressing their emotions, and when they see their parents hurting, they naturally want to protect their parents, so the children may not be open about their own grief. Close family friends and even other relatives can step in and assist the parent in helping the children grieve.

Tips that a parent or another adult can use to help grieving children through the holidays.

It's Time For Christmas

Alan Staines, OAM (Envoy), National Secretary, would like to share a Christmas story.

A tyrant is loose in the world. It has everyone of us in its grasp. It controls every action and activity. It tells us when to get up, when to go to work, when to leave work and when to go to bed.

It is, of course, time. An unconquerable fact of life that cannot be expanded, accumulated, mortgaged, hastened or retarded.

Read More

Helping yourself heal during the holiday season

Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD

Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved. Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing, and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.

Love Does Not End With Death

Since love does not end with death, holidays may result in a renewed sense of personal grief – a feeling of loss unlike that experienced in the routine of daily living. Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around the sounds, sights, and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died.
Read more

If in crisis or in need of counselling, please contact the following telephone lines:

• Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hour phone counselling)

• Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

• Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

• Mensline Australia 1300 789 978 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

• Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families)