Since 2004, Support After Suicide has delivered vital counselling services and group sessions to children, young people and adults who have been bereaved by the suicide of a loved one.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant Support After Suicide has had to deliver its one-on-one and group services remotely since March.
“We’re pleased that we’ve been able to keep connection with people via phone and Zoom for counselling and groups. It’s not the same as face-to-face but it has been working better than we’d hoped,” says Louise Flynn, Support After Suicide Manager.
Additional staff have been required to facilitate sessions and provide technical support. Louise says the program has also needed to adapt the way it works with people given the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, and the loss of regular structures and routines.
“For some people, they’ve found it intensifying the difficulty they’re already facing because they can’t continue face-to-face connection or the usual activities that have helped them deal with the grief and trauma,” she says.
“For others, it’s also been quite triggering in that the feelings of isolation have meant they have not been able to carry out some of the rituals that have been important, for example, on the anniversary date.”
Support After Suicide will continue to adapt as restrictions ease and is playing a role in delivering evidence and practical experience to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which will hand down its final report in February 2021.
If you require support following the suicide of a loved one, please contact Support After Suicide on (03) 9421 7640 or visit www.supportaftersuicide.org.au