"The person who suicides puts his or her psychological skeleton in the survivor's emotional closet - he/she sentences the survivor to a complex of negative feelings and, most importantly, to obsessing about the reasons for the suicide death"

Edwin S. Shneidman, Founding Suicidologist

Suicide Postvention and Bereavement by Suicide


Dealing with the Aftermath: Responding to the impact of a suicide

The impact of a suicide on whānau and hapū, friends, work colleagues and communities is both profound and enduring with many experiencing a more complicated grieving process that is compounded further by the stigma of suicide or mental illness.

Suicide brings a heightened risk of further suicide within whānau. Intergenerational suicide contagion is now recognised as an increased risk factor, with some research indicating that history of suicide in immediate family can increase suicide risk tenfold. Some whānau or hapū have had numerous family members, often young people, dying by suicide. It is essential that those providing support to those bereaved by suicide are not just competent in bereavement care but also in being able to assist individuals or the whānau to make sense of the death by suicide in ways that may lessen the potential of suicide contagion within the whānau. The same principles can be applied to settings such as schools, workplaces and communities.

This introductory workshop builds understanding of effective strategies to respond to a death by suicide in different settings: whānau & hapū, ethnic groupings, schools, workplaces, organisations and communities. The workshop also outlines the differences between suicide postvention and suicide bereavement support and hot best to manage the tensions between the two approaches as well as providing an overview of effective strategies for supporting those bereaved by suicide.


It is important to understand that suicide postvention is more than just about bereavement support. It also needs to be viewed in the context of the suicide prevention continuum. The principles, objectives and activities of suicide postvention will be discussed. In addition the assessing risk of contagion, postvention mapping, community postvention risk audit, developing an at-risk registry and the roles and responsibilities of community postvention action groups will be described in detail.

Topics covered

  • The impact of suicide on friends, families, agencies and community

  • Suicide specific grief and supporting those grieving

  • Suicide Contagion: What it is and why it occurs

  • Inter-generational suicide within family systems​

  • Principles objectives and activities of Suicide Postvention

  • Tensions between suicide postvention and bereaved by suicide support outcomes

  • Cultural considerations in providing a postvention response

  • Mapping those at risk of suicide, monitoring and support needs

  • Assessing risk of contagion, auditing community postvention capacity and capabilities, 

  • Suicide At-Risk Registry, monitoring and follow-up

  • Agency policies and procedures in the event of a death by suicide

  • Developing an organisation or community suicide postvention plan

Previous participants' feedback

Feedback from previous workshop participants stated that this workshop was very relevant and helpful to their work and that their knowledge, comfortableness, competency and confidence about suicide postvention had significantly increased. Participants were appreciative of the breadth and depth the topics covered and the practical approaches recommended and the use of real life scenarios.


“Real life examples and scenarios was helpful in seeing how the theory can be applied practically”      Social Worker


“Realise how unprepared I am should this happen but leave with practical strategies and insights”     School Dean

“Fabulous day, information and trainer…Outstanding knowledge and experience”     Youth Counsellor


"Guidance on how communities should observe a suicide death are very much in line with tikanaga on marae and how we as Maori tangi.  Very useful for maraes to consider."      Kaumātua

People who would benefit from attending this workshop are:

Bereaved by suicide support groups                                                                     Clergy and Funeral Celebrants                                           

Corrections and Juvenile Justices institutions                                                       Education and training organisations

Iwi health and welfare services                                                                           Loss and grief services - especially bereaved by suicide

Mental health services and mental health support NGOs                                    Older people services

Police and First Responder Emergency Services                                                    Rural support agencies

Safer Community Councils                                                                                    School counsellors, leadership team, deans, pastoral care, boarding hostel managers

Suicide prevention and postvention co-ordinators                                               Tertiary student health & counselling services, chaplaincy, halls of residence managers

Victim Support                                                                                                      Welfare agencies

Workplace EAP Programs and HR Departments                                                    Workplace Support

Youth Services

I Just Want to Know Why: Making sense of suicide

“Why?” is often one of the first questions for those bereaved by suicide as they seek to make sense of the death. A question to which there are rarely no obvious or immediate answers and may never be answered in a way that satisfies the bereaved person’s need to understand. This workshop, specifically designed for people bereaved by suicide, provides the opportunity for participants to learn more about the phenomenon of suicide, why people do it, what leads people to make the decision and the suicidal person’s thinking process as well as ask the questions you have wanted to ask in a safe and supportive environment.  The workshop also covers the suicide related grief issues with opportunities for participants to share their insights as well as the issues of copycat suicides in families.

Barry draws his insights from thirty years working with suicidal person and supporting those bereaved by suicide.  He also covers the latest research and thinking on suicide and his lived experience of living with depression and suicidal thinking.

Topics include:

  • An overview of suicide and why people do it

  • Whose fault is it? Is suicide a selfish act? – Understanding the suicidal person’s thinking process

  • The suicidal moment

  • Grieving for those bereaved by suicide - Is it different to other forms of grief?

  • Dealing with the shame and stigma of suicide

  • Understanding family dynamics after a family member has suicided

  • Copycat suicides and inter-generational suicide – why it happens


Length of time:     Minimum 3 hours but preferred format is 5-6 hours

Target Audience:  Family and friends bereaved by suicide


Previous participants' feedback:

“Your compassion and deep understanding of the issues of those bereaved by suicide was so evident in your presentation.”

“Thank you for your respectful listening to our questions and your sensitive and informed answers”

“So appreciative to have such a knowledgeable presenter. I could have listened to you for days”

“I have learnt more today about suicide than any pamphlet or book I have read”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

“I leave today with a fresh way of understanding my son’s suicide. It’s as if a ray of light has been shone on the  darkness of the past two years”


Delivered on Request

This workshop is delivered on request.  Please contact Barry Taylor to discuss the possibility of having the workshop delivered in your organisation or community. The workshop can be adapted to develop a tailor-made training programme to meet your community’s or organisation’s specific needs.  The workshop can be delivered at weekends.


Honouring not Glorifying: The Role of the tangi or funeral service in suicide prevention and bereavement support

With the increasing number of people dying by suicide, especially in young people, concern has been expressed about the potential risk in tangis and funerals of glorifying suicide. The main concern is that the funeral could contribute to copycat suicides.

This workshop will assist clergy, funeral celebrants, funeral directors, kaumatua and marae committees to work through the issues of concern and to ensure that the ritual or the cultural practices honour the person without glorifying the way the person died. The facilitator of this course will draw upon his extensive experience working with people and communities affected by suicide, his leadership in the loss and grief sector and as a funeral celebrant.

He has worked with numerous indigenous communities as they have debated the sensitive issues of observing cultural funeral rituals (tikanga) and their concern of not glorifying suicide, especially in their tamariki.

His international experience includes being the State President of National Association for Loss & Grief (Victoria) and convenor of the Victorian Loss & Grief Practitioners Accreditation Board. He developed and delivered nationally a certificate training programme for the Australian funeral industry on loss and grief and has 26 years’ experience as a funeral celebrant. He has lectured at theological colleges and training programmes for funeral celebrants on the role of ritual in grief processes and the pastoral care needs of those bereaved by suicide.

Topics covered

  • The funeral of someone who has died by suicide – Why the concern?

  • Mitigating against the potential for suicide contagion

  • The stigma of suicide and mental illness

  • The role of the tangi or funeral service in community debriefing

  • An overview of the issues for those bereaved by suicide and how the tangi or funeral service helps

  • Ways to discuss / address the topic of suicide in a funeral – helpful and unhelpful messages

  • Working with the family in preparing the funeral

  • Honouring not glorifying - how to manage the tension between the two and why it is important


Length of time:     Minimum 3 hours but can also be a one day workshop

Target Audience:  Clergy, funeral celebrants, funeral directors, kaumatua, marae committees

Delivered on Request

This workshop is delivered on request.  Please contact Barry Taylor to discuss the possibility of having the workshop delivered in your organisation or community. The workshop can be adapted to develop a tailor-made training programme to meet your community’s or organisation’s specific needs.  The workshop can be delivered at weekends.

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Me mahi tahi tautou mo te oranga o te katoa   -  Work together for the wellbeing of everyone


Contact Details                                                                                                                                                            Helplines

Email:                  barry@taylormadetrainingconsulting.com                                                                                                                                      Having suicidal thoughts?

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