The NSW Government has provided a $4.5-million boost to Post Suicide Support services, aiming to assist people who are experiencing the range of complex emotions that commonly ripple through families and communities following a death by suicide.

Sector experts StandBy – Support After Suicide received the funding as part of the overarching Towards Zero Suicides strategy, enabling StandBy to provide state-wide bereavement assistance for the first time.

Research demonstrates that an average of 135 people can be impacted by a single suicide death.*

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the investment complements the Federal Government’s funding and focus for this vital support initiative.

“For friends and family, the death of a loved one by suicide is not only heartbreaking and shocking, it can also create new challenges, as well as making day-to-day tasks incredibly difficult,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We want to be there for people in these painful weeks and months in ways that can really help, from providing counselling to helping them access financial assistance and guiding them through the coronial process.”

StandBy has partnered with Jesuit Social Services, Roses in the Ocean and the University of New England to deliver a range of services.

“The NSW Government funding was awarded in April and, despite the various challenges imposed by the COVID lockdown, we are pleased that our service is steadily growing and people who need the support are finding us,” Stephen Scott, National Partnerships Manager at StandBy, said.

“The NSW Government investment has allowed us to open the service in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area, as well as Wollongong and the South Coast. We’re also providing an enhanced model in which, with the assistance of Roses in the Ocean, there’s a lived-experience peer workforce.

“The service is a new innovation – we’re not aware of it being developed anywhere else in the world – so it’s an exciting part of what StandBy can now offer. These staff are well-trained to bring their personal experience of suicide bereavement to be added to our counselling support.”

Recent data has highlighted the benefit of providing support.

“We’ve just completed our second randomised control trial of StandBy participants” Mr Scott added. “We found again that among people that used the service there are lower levels of suicidality, when compared to people that didn’t, fewer mental health concerns, less social isolation and more ability to resume their normal lives.

"Anybody who is bereaved or impacted by suicide is eligible to receive StandBy’s help, from family members, friends and colleagues to witnesses and first responders, who can be significantly impacted by a single or cumulative exposure to suicide in their work.

“Exposure, and cumulative exposure, to these tragic events is very traumatic, so we cast a net far and wide, and invite anyone who’s impacted to call upon us,” said Amy Bertakis, NSW Support After Suicide Manager.

“Our approach is to understand what is happening to the person now, and how can we help and support them. We have conversations about what local services are available.”

The service often links in with other Towards Zero Suicides initiatives like Safe Havens and Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams, while also offering support for schools, clubs, workplaces and other groups where there has been community-wide impact.

StandBy’s national free-call number is 1300 727 247. The line is staffed 24-7 and has a geolocation feature during business hours, so callers are immediately referred to their local StandBy coordinator. More details on the StandBy website.


* Cerel, J., Brown, M., Maple, M., Singleton, M., van de Venne, J., et al. (2018). How many people are exposed to suicide? Not six. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behaviour.


Post Suicide Support is a NSW Heath Towards Zero Suicides initiative.


Current as at: Thursday 9 December 2021
Contact page owner: Mental Health