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Supporting people who have been bereaved by suicide is an important yet often overlooked suicide prevention strategy.

The SANE Mental Illness and Bereavement Workshop explores how health professionals can better support the family and friends of people with mental illness who have died by suicide and explores issues that may arise during this process. The workshop draws on the personal experiences of people bereaved by suicide.

To date, SANE Australia has provided this training to over 800 staff from 50 services around Australia and received a positive response from participants. Over 90% indicated that their understanding of the complex issues of suicide bereavement and mental illness had improved and nearly all cited increased confidence in supporting people bereaved by suicide due to the training.

“The workshop had good statistical information, well balanced with DVD, knowledge of presenters was excellent, and looking at what our service does and can do was also good.  Excellent – thank you.”

The Mental Illness & Bereavement initiative was independently evaluated by KMPG who reported that the project has uncovered and responded to an unmet need in information about, and support for, individuals bereaved by suicide when mental illness is involved.

A key success of the project has been to fill gaps in understanding of mental health and suicide with relevant and appropriate resources. SANE’s resources are evidence based, practical, adaptable and use of personal experience is a highly effective approach for communicating the need to change practice.

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