Family issues in suicide postvention

10 Mar 2008

Every year in Australia, the suicides of thousands of individuals leave behind family members and friends to cope with the aftermath. The event of suicide is not uncommon; over 2,000 people died as a result of suicide in 2005, contributing significantly to mortality rates across all ages, and the numbers are likely to be higher, due to issues such as problems with coding the cause of death. Prevention and early intervention strategies to reduce the rate of suicide appear to have had some effects over the previous decade, but less attention has been paid to post-suicide outcomes for those closest to the one who died, particularly family and friends. These outcomes are explored in this paper and strategies to support and counsel the suicide-bereaved are outlined. Recent national initiatives that guide postvention activities are also discussed and relevant resources provided.

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