Life Indigenous Bereavement Support

Life Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide and Other Unexpected Death Bereavement Support Group

The Life Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Bereavement Support Group is an inclusion in the Dr Edward Koch Foundation’s Life Program. This initiative focuses on providing a culturally appropriate service and resources for assisting with grief and loss following a suicide and to aid those bereaved to move towards healing and creating hope.  The group offers the opportunity to talk about the loss of a loved one and also provides community members with basic coping strategies and other information that they can access and use, if they are supporting someone who is at risk of suicide.

The support group facilitators have seen the prevention and postvention facets unfold in the lives of the group participants throughout the project. Some participants have used crafts as a part of their healing within the group. Participant numbers vary. Providing the bereavement support service has involved using previously established partnerships such as with community service agencies, and forming new partnerships with local and regional Indigenous organisations and community radio stations. Although meeting in Cairns at present, persons who have participated in the group have come from many communities in the Far North Queensland region. The Group is facilitated by trained counsellors including a person from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander background.