Support groups


Support groups can be a valuable aid for those bereaved by suicide.

Support groups can be peer groups or facilitated groups. Either group could run as an open or closed group.

Peer groups

This is a group where all the members are bereaved. There may be a meeting co-ordinator (eg. someone who books locations and sends out meeting information) however no professional advice is offered. Generally, a group of members will gather at an agreed location at a regular time and talk about their experiences. They are able to offer their own experience and thoughts as advice to others in similar situations. These groups can be beneficial in that they provide a forum where members can speak honestly and openly with others who understand. What is peer support?

Facilitated groups

This is a group that has a designated facilitator. The facilitator is generally a health professional with a background or training in support groups. A facilitator provides structure to group conversation and maintains a neutral position. A facilitator may or may not have a lived experience of suicide bereavement. Their focus is on both the process of having a meeting and the suitability of the content of the discussion. Some facilitators may work on a voluntary basis, others may charge a fee to the group. Both peer groups and facilitated groups can be ‘open’ or ‘closed’ groups.

Open group

An open group allows and and all attendees to?come to the group without any formal process. Some open groups may find that they have large numbers in attendance one meeting?and no attendance at the next. There is no RSVP required and some members may have attended several times while others may be new.

Closed group

A closed group limits or screens members. Members of some closed groups agree to meet regularly for a period of time and then ‘re-open’ for new members. This allows bonds to form between members of the group. Members may wish to then provide each other support outside of the group and some maintain close friendships after the group has finished.

Further reading


The charter of peer support
The Centre of Excellence in Peer Support (CEPS)

Any one of us could be affected by an unexpected life event or illness where peer support will be vital to our recovery and well being. The Charter of Peer Support has been developed to ensure that peer support services are available to consumers and carers when and where we need it.

who-how-to-start-a-survivors-group-cover
Preventing suicide: How to start a survivors group World Health Organisation

  • the importance of self-help support groups
  • surviving and the impact of suicide
  • sources of help for the bereaved
  • how to initiate a self-help support group
  • developing the operational framework
  • identifying and gaining access to resources
  • gauging success and potential risk factors

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ACT


Woden
Canberra After Suicide Support (CASS)
When: Second Saturday of each month
Contact: Kerry Marshall
Phone: 0409 669 359 Email: [email protected]
An open, peer support group.

NSW


Balgowlah
Lifeline Northern Beaches Inc Suicide Bereavement Support Group
When: First Tuesday each month, 7-9pm
Contact: Kathi Pauncz
Phone: 02 9949 5522 Email: [email protected]
Lifeline Northern Beaches delivers a broad range of services that focus on crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health and well being including the Suicide Bereavement Support Group. This support group is for? people who have experienced the loss of a loved one through suicide. The group aims to provide a safe and confidential environment of trust for people to share their experiences and support each other. This is an open group.

Central Coast
Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Where: 15 Cary St Wyoming
Phone: 02 4323 6195 Email: [email protected]
Group for people at any stage of their bereavement. Support consist of eight weekly evening sessions for people living on the Central Coast of NSW. Telephone support is also available.

Denistone East
National Centre for Childhood Grief
Where: Denistone East
Contact: Valda Tucker
Phone: 1300 654 556 Email: [email protected]
Support groups are available for children who have had a parent die by any cause including suicide. Children will only be considered for group after having one on one face to face counselling with one of our specialist children’s counsellors.

Dubbo
NALAG Dubbo Centre for Loss & Grief
Contact: Trudy Hanson
Phone: 02 6882 9222 Email: [email protected]
Best to email or contact for individual or group support. By referral and arrangements to suit caller.

Glebe
Support After Suicide Group
Where: Glebe
When: First Tuesday of every month (except January)
Contact:Holly Smith or Jane Mowll
Phone: 02 8584 7800 Email: [email protected]
The Support After Suicide Group is open to anyone who has experienced the loss of someone they love through suicide. The monthly group is run by the Department of Forensic Medicine and is facilitated by social workers from the forensic counselling team. It is an open group and is run on the first Tuesday of every month except January. If you would like to attend for the first time then please call the Coordinator on 8584 7800 during business hours. We also publish a regular newsletter.

Glenwood
Police Post Trauma Support Group NSW (PPTSG)
When: Third Thursday of every month
Contact: Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM
Phone: 0432 569 589 Email: [email protected]
PPTSG is a peer & family support group for police officers suffering PTSD and postvention for those left behind after a suicide of a police officer, family member or friend.

Gordon
Lifeline Gordon Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Where: 4 Park Avenue, Gordon
When: Second Thursday of each month, 7pm
Contact: Ceiny Maybury
Phone: 0402 053 692 Email: [email protected]
Open group

Grafton
After Suicide Support Group (ASSG) Clarence Valley
Contact: Margaret McKenna
Phone: 0419421066 Email: [email protected]
Telephone support or face to face meetings for individuals or groups in Grafton at any stage after a suicide

Kirrawee
Southern Community Welfare
Contact: Connie Easterbrook
Phone: 02 9545 0299 Email: [email protected]
SCW delivers a broad range of services for grief and lost. This includes an open monthly support group facilitated by qualified professionals, a limited number of free counselling sessions to anyone bereaved by suicide, at any stage of bereavement and the running of the Seasons for Growth grief and loss support program for adults and for children. For more information on any of these services, please visit our web site http://www.scw.org.au/events.aspx or call us on (02) 9545 0299.

Lismore
Lifeline Northern Rivers Support After Suicide Group
Contact: Jan Fedley
Phone: 02 6622 4133 Email: [email protected]
Lifeline Northern Rivers runs an annual closed support group to assist those who have experienced their loss by suicide for at least three months. The group is facilitated by experienced and qualified counsellors and is free of charge. The group runs for eight fortnightly sessions, running approximately from September to December each year.

Maclean
Suicide Bereaved Support Group of Maclean
Where: CWA Hall Maclean
When: First Friday each month, 1:30-2:30pm
Contact: Barbara Rigg
Email: [email protected]
Open group for people at any stage of their bereavement.

Narellan
Lifeline Marcarthur Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Contact: Jacky Moore
Phone: 02 4645 7200 Email: [email protected]

Narrabeen
Lifeline Northern Beaches Inc Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Where: The Tramshed, Narrabeen
When: Second Tuesday each month, 7-9pm
Contact: Kathi Pauncz
Phone: 02 9949 5522 Email: [email protected]
Lifeline Northern Beaches delivers a broad range of services that focus on crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health and well being including the Suicide Bereavement Support Group. This support group is for people who have experienced the loss of a loved one through suicide. The group aims to provide a safe and confidential environment of trust for people to share their experiences and support each other. This is an open group.

Newcastle
Lifeline Newcastle Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support group
Where: 12 Maitland Road, Islington, Newcastle NSW
When: 1st Wednesday of each month at 7pm-9pm Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support groups meet monthly to provide support and companionship to those who have had a family member, friend or partner die by suicide. These groups are coordinated by a community member and facilitated by Lifeline. These are open groups.
Contact: Robyn Lawrence
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 02 49402000

Orange
Where: Community Centre, Kite Street
When: Third Thursday of each month at 7pm
Contact: Jamy Somerville
Phone:0438 700 609 Email: [email protected]
This group provides a safe and caring environment for those bereaved by suicide to share their experience and knowledge. Please phone before attending.

Penrith
When: Second Wednesday each month
Contact: Ray
Email: via website
The bereaved under 18 years of age are unable to attend. Attendees must call for address as attendees are interviewed briefly by phone to ensure we are offering them the best help available and meeting their needs.

Port Macquarie
Support After Suicide Group
When: 4th Wednesday evening of the month February to November
Contact: Lee-Ann Foord
Phone: 02 6581 2800 Email: [email protected]
This is an open group. From time to time we offer closed groups. In 2015 we are offering a closed group in Port Macquarie and another closed group in Kempsey.

Port Stephens
Port Stephens Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group
When: 4th Monday of each month 7pm-9pm
Where: Tomaree Library, Salamander Bay
Contact: Robyn Lawrence
Phone: 02 49402000 Email: [email protected]
Survivors of suicide (SOS) support groups meet monthly to provide support and companionship to those who have had a family member, friend or partner die by suicide. These groups are co-ordinated by a community member and faciliated by Lifeline. These are open groups.

Richmond
When: last Wednesday of each month
Contact: Ray
Email: via website
The bereaved under 18 years of age are unable to attend. Attendees must call for address as attendees are interviewed briefly by phone to ensure we are offering them the best help available and meeting their needs.

Sydney Suburbs and Rural Areas
The Compassionate Friends NSW
Where: Suicide Support Group meets in the city. TCF NSW has 22 support groups across NSW providing help to grieving parents, siblings and grandparents.
When: Suicide Support Group meets 2nd Wednesday of the month, 11am to 2pm
Contact: Jenny Wandl or Joy Rappo
Phone: 02 9290 2355 Email: [email protected]
TCF NSW has 22 support groups across NSW providing help to grieving parents, siblings and grandparents. There are regular monthly meetings, talks, social activities, one weekend gathering per year and other helpful activities. Our volunteers are not counsellors, but share the experience of having lost a child. The Compassionate Friends NSW has always given support to people bereaved by suicide, since its inception in this state more than thirty years ago. We have people who have been bereaved by suicide in our generalised bereavement support groups throughout NSW and there is a specific bereaved by suicide support group which meets monthly in the city. We distribute grief information on this topic and have held talks and workshops for people bereaved by suicide. Our quarterly magazine, Focus, often features articles specific to the bereaved by suicide. Our leaders have been asked to give talks specific to suicide. Our webpage www.thecompassionatefriends.org.au has a Forum in which discussion specific to loss by suicide are held. We regularly feature posts on our Facebook page which relate specifically to bereavement by suicide. We recommend that people wishing to contact us for the first time phone in advance, so we can direct them to the best person to give help.

Taree
Support After Suicide group
When: 3rd Wednesday evening of the month, 6pm-8pm
Contact: Lee-Ann Foord
Phone: 02 6581 2800 Email: [email protected]
This Support After Suicide group is run by Lifeline Mid Coast.

Wagga Wagga
Support after suicide
Contact: Nola Sandra & David
Phone: 02 6922 4438 (Nola) 02 6922 3823 (Sandra & David)
Mutual support by people who share the common experience of losing a family member/friend through suicide in an informal, non-judgmental atmosphere.

Wollongong
ETC Suicide Bereavement Support The Salvation Army First Floor Program
Where: Wollongong
When: First Tuesday each month, 6-8pm
Contact: Marilyn Dunn
Phone: 02 4229 1079 or 0411 143 586 Email: [email protected]
Peer support also available for those in early stages of loss to suicide

QLD


Browns Plains
White Wreath Assoc Ltd – Action Against Suicide
Contact: Fanita Clark
Phone: 1300 766 177 Email: [email protected]
We provide advocacy for those who need assistance of finding help for mental health and provide support for those bereaved by suicide. People can contact us via phone, text or email or our website. Our operations are 24/7. Also for those bereaved by suicide we hold an annual national day on the 29 May, White Wreath Day – In Remembrance of All Victims of Suicide

Bundaberg
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association Bundaberg Branch
Where: Neighbourhood Centre,111 Targo Street
When: Second Wednesday of each Month, 10.30am
Contact: Peter Richardson
Phone: 07 4155 1015
Supports people in all stages of their grief.?Telephone support available

Cairns
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA) Cairns
Where:Red Cross Facility, Lake Street Cairns
When: Second Tuesday of each Month, 7.30pm
Contact: Fran or Anne
Phone: 0407 695 891 (Fran) or 0407162039 (Anne) Email: [email protected]
For anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide at any stage in their grief

Cairns
Life Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Where: Dr Edward Koch Foundation, 6 Aplin Street, Cairns. (Upstairs, Les Freeman Real Estate Building)
When: Every three weeks (determined at previous meeting) 10.00am to 12.00 pm
Contact: Dulcie
Phone: 07 4031 0145 or 0409 765 305 Email: [email protected]
The Life Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Bereavement Support Group is an inclusion in the Dr Edward Koch Foundations Life Program Indigenous Suicide Prevention Community Plans. This initiative focuses on providing a culturally appropriate service and resources for assisting with grief and loss following a suicide. The group offers the opportunity to talk about the loss of a loved one and will also provide community members with basic coping strategies and other information that they can access and use, if they are supporting someone who is at risk of suicide. The Group is facilitated by trained counsellors including an Aboriginal person well known and accepted throughout Far North Queensland.

Cleveland
Redlands Suicide Bereavement Support Group
When: 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7pm
Contact: Kelly Playford-Veal
Phone: 0488234812 Email: [email protected]
Ongoing Open Support Group: Free (face to face, limited telephone and online support)
Closed therapy groups: Fee for service
Counselling: Fee for service
Workshops: Fee for service
Retreat: Fee for service

Gladstone
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA) Gladstone
Where: Gladstone Neighbourhood Centre,105 Tooloola Street
When: Second Thursday of each Month, 10am
Contact: Michaelle
Phone: 0413 121 512 Email: [email protected]
For anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide at any stage in their grief

Hervey Bay
Support of the Bereaved by Suicide (SOBS)
When: Monthly
Contact: Olwen Schubert
Phone: 0401 311 468 Email: [email protected]

Ipswich
Lifeline Suicide Bereavement Peer Support Group
Where: Ipswich
When: First Wednesday of each month
Contact: Karen Prestidge
Phone: 07 3816 9610 Email: [email protected]
The suicide bereavement support group provides a confidential, non-judgemental and compassionate setting where participants are able to give and receive support.

Mackay
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA) Mackay
Where: Gordon White Library, 54 Phillip Street, Mt Pleasant
When: Second Saturday of each month, 2pm
Contact: Kim
Phone: 0430 186 149 Email: [email protected]
For anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide at any stage in their grief

New Farm
The Compassionate Friends Qld Inc.
Contact: Joy Van Raalte (QLD Co-ordinator)
Phone: (07) 3254 2657 Email: [email protected]
We support bereaved parents, grandparents and siblings after the death of a child at any age and from any cause.
Support meetings are held once a month and are open to any bereaved parent, grandparent or sibling to attend regardless of stage of bereavement, type of loss or age of child. We also hold monthly coffee mornings, telephone support throughout QLD by our regional telephone listeners, support meetings in some regional areas, support through our Drop-In-Centre at New Farm by telephone or dropping in for coffee and support. We have a dedicated 24/7 telephone support line, comprehensive range of literature, large library, user friendly website and facebook page.

Springwood
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA) Brisbane
Where: Healthy Options Conference and Training Centre, 473 Annerley Road, Annerley
When: 7.30pm every 2nd Friday
Contact: Cherrie
Phone: 1300 659 467 or 0423 567 05 Email: [email protected]
For anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide at any stage in their grief

Townsville
Townsville Hope for Life Support Group
Where: The Salvation Army, 49-61 Beck Drive North, Condon
When: Every second Wednesday each month at 7pm
Contact: Captain Lauriee Arthur
Phone: 07 4723 5607 or 0408 688 474 Email: [email protected]
Open group for people at any stage of their bereavement. Ring for further information about group or make enquiries through website.

Whitsundays
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA) Whitsundays
Where: Crisis & Counselling Centre, Cannonvale Business Centre, Shute Harbour Road Airlie Beach
When: First Saturday of each month, 2pm
Contact: Renee
Phone: 0412 448 805 email: [email protected]
For anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide at any stage in their grief

SA

Clare
Back2Basics Lower North
Contact: Gil Fuss or Rob Wastell
Phone: (08) 8841 3500 Email: [email protected]
Network established to coordinate the provision of information, education and promotion of service access pathways. To coordinate the planning of emotional health and wellbeing support programs in the Lower North region of South Australia. Our overall goal is the elimination of suicide within our community.

Hindmarsh
Bereaved Through Suicide (BTS) Support Group
When: Monthly
Contact: Tim Porter
Phone:? 0468 440 287 Email: [email protected]
Open group for people at any stage of their bereavement
BTS was founded in 1986 in Adelaide, South Australia. Consisting of support volunteers who run the monthly support meetings and telephone support all the volunteers have been affected by suicide. There is a management committee that controls the day to day running of the organisation and a Professional Advisory Council which the volunteers and committee can refer matters for support and advice.

Hindmarsh
Living Beyond Suicide (Anglicare SA)
Contact: Michael Traynor
Phone: 1300 76 11 93 Email: [email protected]
Provides practical and sensitive support for families in the hours and days after suicide. Guides families through the array of systems that enter their lives at this most distressing time and helps with referrals to other agencies when needed. Telephone support and home visits. There is no cost for this service. Holds an annual “Walk through the Darkness” for people to remember their ones lost to suicide.

Mount Gambier
Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Contact: Helen Jurd
Phone: 08 8723 2299 Email: [email protected]

Quorn
Australia New Zealand Parents of Suicides
Contact: Jacky Jessop
Phone: 08 8648 6656 or 0417 884 825 Email: [email protected]
A sister group of the global group POS (Parents of Suicides). A restricted email group of bereaved parents support each other. Available 24/7 from the comfort of your own loungeroom. Find us via Yahoo Groups https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/AUNZ-POS/

Thebarton
MOSH
Where: MOSH House, 86 George St, Thebarton
When: Weekly Wednesday 1-3pm
Contact: Jill Chapman
Phone: 08 8443 8369 Email: [email protected]
Thebarton is open from 10.30-4.30 Monday to Saturday. Active Listeners are available on a drop in basis, no appointment is necessary. Wednesday afternoon is set aside for a group session for those bereaved by suicide. Resources and other groups are also available. All services are free.

TAS


New Town
Suicide Bereavement Support Group
Where: ?20 Clare St, New Town
When: Second Thursday of each month
Contact: Helen Scarr
Phone: 1300364277 Email: [email protected]
Open group for people bereaved by suicide

VIC

Box Hill
The Compassionate Friends Victoria Bereaved through Suicide Dinner Group
Where: Box Hill RSL, 26 Nelson Road, Box Hill
When: 7.30pm, the fourth Thursday of the month, January – November
Contact: Andrew McNess or Sue Brown
Phone: (03) 9888 4944 / 1800 641 091 (free call for country Victoria or Tasmania) Email: [email protected]
An open support group for people bereaved through the suicide of a son, daughter, brother, sister or grandchild. We also hold general support and social support groups throughout Victoria (the death of a child from any age or from any cause), telephone support throughout through our 24/4 support line, support through our Drop-In-Centre at Canterbury. We have a dedicated 24/7 telephone support line, a range of literature and The Compassionate Friends Victoria Facebook page.

Canterbury
The Compassionate Friends Victoria Bereaved through Suicide Support Group
Where: Compassionate Friends Centre, 173 Canterbury Road, Canterbury
When: 7.30pm, first Monday of each month
Contact: Andrew McNess or Sue Brown
Phone: (03) 9888 4944 / 1800 641 091 (free call for country Victoria or Tasmania) Email: [email protected]
An open support group for people bereaved through the suicide of a son, daughter, brother, sister or grandchild. We also hold general support and social support groups throughout Victoria (the death of a child from any age or from any cause), telephone support throughout through our 24/4 support line, support through our Drop-In-Centre at Canterbury. We have a dedicated 24/7 telephone support line, a range of literature and The Compassionate Friends Victoria Facebook page.

Geelong
Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network (SPAN) Geelong
Contact: Michael Nolan or Greg Roberts
Phone: 03 5222 4101 (Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment) Email: [email protected]
Annual SPAN WALK held on Australia Day (Jan 26th) to be a Community Support Function for families affected by the loss of family member/friend through suicide. Monthly meeting of SPAN team; regular grief support groups for parents, family members, partners/spouses,grandparents who have lost a loved one through suicide

Melbourne
Support After Suicide
When: 8 week closed group held 3 times a year and monthly coffee morning – open group, second Wednesday.
Contact: Louise Flynn
Phone: 03 9421 7460 Email: [email protected]
We have monthly groups specifically for parents, partners, siblings, adult children, and men. There are also group activities for children and young people. Counselling is available face-to-face in Melbourne. Phone and Skype counselling is also available.

The Compassionate Friends
Bereaved by Suicide Support Group
Contact: John Bradley
Phone: 03 9872 3645 Email: [email protected]

WA


ARBOR (Active Response Bereavement Outreach)
Phone: 08 9263 2150 (9am to 4:30pm, Mon -Fri) Email: [email protected]
Provides recently bereaved (3 months to 1 year), long-term bereaved, Men’s support, and Aboriginal Yarning support groups.
All services are free, non-discriminatory, and confidential.

Compassionate Friends
Phone: 08 9486 8711