Suicide Postvention and Bereaved by Suicide

Dealing with the Aftermath: fresh look at responding to the impact of 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 a significantly 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.

 

Postvention responses need to focus on intergenerational suicide as well assuicide clusters. According to Shneidman, postvention is prevention for the next generation. 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 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.

 

Our understanding about effective suicide postvention is changing as more research and evaluation has been undertaken. Hear why suicide postvention specialist and programme evaluator, Barry Taylor believes there needs to be a review of how we deliver postvention services and where the focus should be. Based on his suicide postvention work in Australia, he conceptualised, designed and established the Wellington Region Suicide Postvention Response Service over 10 years ago, a model which is being used in other DHBs in New Zealand. As with many programmes there is always a challenge with replication and transferability of models.

Drawing on the contemporary research and thinking in postvention Barry will offer an outcome framework for bereaved by suicide support and postvention response services to assess and review their suicide postvention response as well as the provision of suicide postvention in settings such as schools, mental health NGOs and workplaces.

This workshop aims to build 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 how best to manage the tensions between the two approaches as well as providing an overview of effective strategies for supporting those bereaved by suicide.

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.

 

Suicide in whānau significantly heightens risk for other members of the whānau and hapū

 

Inter-generational suicide is more common than suicide clusters in communities

 

Facts like this demands a rethink of how and what support and postvention services we provide and the need for health, social service, community and educational organisations to pay far more attention to assessing risk or supporting whānau members.

"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, Suicidologist

Feedback from other participants

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

Social Worker

"Fabulous day, information and trainer...Outstanding knowledge and experience

Youth Counsellor

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

School Dean

"Guidance on how communities should observe a suicide death are very much in line with tikanga on a marae and how we as Māori tango. Very useful for maraes to consider

Kaumātua

 

Honouring Not Glorifying: The role of the tangi or funeral service in the prevention of suicide 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 which could lead to further 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 after a suicide

  • 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 preferred format is 6-7 hours

Target Audience:  Clergy, Funeral Celebrants, Funeral Directors,

                                    Kaumātua, 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 and can be delivered at weekends.

 

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 inter-generational suicide within whānau.

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

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 and can be delivered at weekends.

Feedback from other participants

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

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

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!”

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

 

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

“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”

When Suicide Comes to Church: Pastoral care of those bereaved by suicide 

 

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 which could lead to further 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 after a suicide

  • 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

 

 
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