postvention australia care pack

Bereavement After Suicide Guide

Practical Advice, Support & Understanding


If someone you know or love has taken their own life or you’re wanting to give support to someone who is recently bereaved, the Postvention Australia (PVA) Care Pack provides simple, practical support to help you navigate this overwhelming and confusing time.

Each experience of suicide loss is unique. The Care Pack has been designed to provide a place to start in your journey, when you feel ready.

You can navigate the guide by clicking through the sections below. It's been designed so you can view what you feel is most relevant to where you are now or you can go ahead and download the care pack below to read from the beginning.

The PVA Care Pack has been written by people who understand this experience, however if you find you need more support, visit the 'Services and Resources' section below to touch base with a NSW service provider.

It's just happened

You may feel overwhelmed or be flooded with thoughts that are confusing as you try to understand how this could have happened.

Initially, many people experience shock and disbelief; intense distress; a need to understand why and how; or perhaps anger, guilt or shame.

The sudden nature of a suicide death may also mean you are experiencing the effects of trauma. Grief and trauma can affect how we think, behave and how we feel in our bodies.


You may find that you are filled with a barrage of questions: Why and how could this have happened? How could someone I love take their own life?

You may find yourself going over and over events and conversations as you try and find answers to these questions.

Searching for answers can be relentless and exhausting. It may help to understand that the reasons behind a person’s suicide are usually complex and may never be completely understood.

What can be helpful

At this point, some simple steps may be helpful. If you are the next-of-kin:

  • Communicate with the Coroner’s Court and learn about the process.
  • Let others know what has happened. If you do not feel up to this, ask a family member or friend to do it for you.
  • Begin to plan the funeral, memorial or service. The first step is to seek out a funeral director. It is helpful to remember that a funeral service does not need to be arranged straight away; you can take your time in organising the service.

There is more information in the next section about organising a funeral or service. Click through to Practical Help.

For anyone who is bereaved:

  • Try to take care of the basics. Eating, sleeping, light exercise. These can be difficult when grieving and traumatised so eat small meals several times a day.
  • Connect with others who care about you. Support from those who know and understand you is very beneficial and can be comforting.
  • It can be helpful to be aware that others around you may be having difficulties as well. Being patient with yourself and others can be a good place to start.
  • If there are things to do, people to speak to, and you do not feel up to it, reach out to others for help. It is better not to put too much pressure on yourself to function in your usual way.