St Helens suicide loss session builds hope from heartache

BRINGING HOPE: 2016 Tasmanian LIFE Award recipient Wendy French will facilitate a community session entitled From Heartache to Hope on December 12.

BRINGING HOPE: 2016 Tasmanian LIFE Award recipient Wendy French will facilitate a community session entitled From Heartache to Hope on December 12.

A group of Break O’Day organisations will come together next month to support residents who have experienced suicide loss, hosting a community session in St Helens entitled From Heartache to Hope.

The free session will discuss the journey of bereavement and loss, suggestions for self care and how to best care for those who have suffered a loss.   

Talking About Suicide managing consultant Wendy French, who will share facilitation duties with Anglicare’s Thom Ryan, encouraged anyone who has been impacted by suicide loss to attend the event. 

“We'd like to see some big community support, and I think it's important that people who have been bereaved can feel that community support,” Ms French said.  

“We recognise that suicide can have pretty significant impacts on a community, and especially on a smaller community like St Helens where people are generally known to each other and sometimes it can be confusing for people as to how they respond.

“Suicide bereavement is unique and different to any other kind of sudden loss, so some of the factors involved in people's healing and their grief can be compounded because of that uniqueness.” 

Ms French said it was crucial to provide people with the tools and information to understand and manage suicide-related grief, as well as support others who have experienced loss. 

“I think it’s important to acknowledge that the community has suffered losses, not just recently but past losses as well can have an impact on people and the effect of suicides can be long-lasting and may last many years.

“There have been a number of suicides in the region and this (event) is really a way to address that grief and for people to acknowledge that suicide loss has happened and (discuss) how we help those who have been impacted the most.”

From Heartache to Hope is organised by Talking About Suicide, St Helens Neighbourhood House, Wellways, Hub4 Health, Break O’Day Council and STAR FM and will run from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on December 12 at Tidal Waters Resort.

For more information contact St Helens Neighbourhood House manager Trish O'Duffy on 63761134.

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