Uni launches suicide postvention project
Monday, 16 June 2003
It is estimated that around 250 people each year in South Australia take their life. To compound this already startling statistic, for every death it is believed that six individuals are severely affected by the suicide, translating into 1,500 people suffering as a result each year.
According to Dr Sheila Clark, in the University of Adelaide's Department of General Practice, "the death of a close relationship is one of life's greatest stresses. And grief following suicide has its own particular difficulties."
She adds that the care of those bereaved through suicide is a neglected area of community development. "Professionals worldwide have been slow to recognise that the support of those bereaved through suicide is an important factor in suicide prevention."
To try and better understand how the bereaved are coping with their loss, the University of Adelaide and the Department of Human Services have launched the South Australian Suicide Postvention Project.
The aim of the project is to examine the current approaches to postvention for those bereaved through suicide in Metropolitan Adelaide and to make recommendations to Mental Health Services.
Dr Clark says there are two major objectives:
- "To review and form recommendations regarding service provision for the bereaved, and
- To review and make recommendations regarding support and education of service providers and professionals."
The project will be run through the Grief Research Unit of the University's Department of General Practice. Resources to support the project will be provided by the Department of General Practice.
The project will be directed by a steering committee chaired by Dr Clark conducted by senior project officer Dr Anne Wilson.
The committee will consist of consumer representation, and representation from the major stakeholders, such as the Coroner's Office, the funeral industry, police, community mental health services, General Practice and Psychiatry. Terms of reference for the steering committee will include project development; planning; monitoring and reporting.
Dr Clark said the University is staging a campaign to invite those who have suffered the loss of someone by suicide, such as a family member, friend or workmate to participate.
"We will be asking those who have suffered bereavement through suicide, to complete a questionnaire and then possibly be part of the discussion group," Dr Clark said. She added that the project would run on a half-time basis over two years.
Dr Clark says there is no cost to the participants and their confidentiality is assured.
Senior Project Officer
South Australian Suicide Postvention Project
Department of General Practice
Business: +61 8 8313 6281
Dr Sheila Clark
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 3463
Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084