StandBy Support After Suicide this week announced UnitingCare Queensland would be taking up the provision of services in Central Queensland, the Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Supplied
StandBy Support After Suicide this week announced UnitingCare Queensland would be taking up the provision of services in Central Queensland, the Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast. Picture: Supplied

How CQ service is helping families through traumatic grief

FORMER Yeppoon mum Sandra Moran lost her son to suicide in April 2014.

Her son Jaie, 22, was living in Gladstone and travelling to Biloela for work at the time.

Sandra said the StandBy Support After Suicide service was there to support her in the days following her loss.

Sandra Moran with a photo of her son Jaie who committed suicide. Picture: Alistair Brightman
Sandra Moran with a photo of her son Jaie who committed suicide. Picture: Alistair Brightman

“The Biloela police referred my family to StandBy, which began a chain reaction of connections to local and relevant supports,” she said.

StandBy is recognised as Australia’s leading suicide postvention program, dedicated to assisting people and communities bereaved or impacted by suicide.

StandBy this week announced UnitingCare Queensland would take up the provision of services in Central Queensland, the Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast, with services continuing in the region.

StandBy general manager Karen Phillips said the organisation started up on the Sunshine Coast about 20 years ago.

“StandBy has been proudly supporting families, loved ones, witnesses, first responders and communities impacted by suicide for almost two decades,” Ms Phillips said.

General Manager at StandBy Karen Phillips. Picture: Contributed
General Manager at StandBy Karen Phillips. Picture: Contributed

“Together we partner with organisations, local communities and well-respected service providers such as UnitingCare right across Australia.

“We understand the grief that follows suicide is complex, and from one suicide up to 135 people may be impacted.

“Those bereaved or impacted by suicide are at a greater risk of suicide themselves, and our focus is to provide a range of supports to anyone that may be impacted, including emotional and practical supports to young people, children, schools and workplaces.”

Since her loss, Sandra said she had gone on to support others impacted by suicide as a StandBy lived experience representative.

Sandra Moran. Picture: Contributed
Sandra Moran. Picture: Contributed

“Suicide grief is such a traumatic grief, we the survivors need to know everything we are feeling about our loss, are valid and totally normal,” she said.

“I consider it a privilege when a survivor of suicide shares their own experience with me.

“We, as survivors, need understanding in the aftermath of suicide loss. We simply need patience, kindness and zero judgment.

“In my role as a lived experience representative, I try to provide a voice for those who are not yet ready to speak, or who may never be able to speak up. I try to show survivors there is still hope after complete devastation.”

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Ms Phillips said StandBy’s relationship with UnitingCare Queensland extended back to 2006.

“We’ve had a long-term relationship with UnitingCare Queensland since the StandBy Trial Replication Project in Brisbane in 2006 and in the North Queensland region since 2009,” she said.

UnitingCare Queensland’s Family and Disability Services group executive, Brent McCracken, said he was proud to expand the partnership with StandBy to the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast regions.

UnitingCare Queensland’s Family and Disability Services group executive, Brent McCracken. Picture: Contributed
UnitingCare Queensland’s Family and Disability Services group executive, Brent McCracken. Picture: Contributed

“UnitingCare Queensland is passionate about providing support to vulnerable communities,” he said.

“Extending the partnership to include Central Queensland is a welcome addition given the extensive services UnitingCare Queensland provides in the region.”

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please seek help immediately by calling triple-0 or one of these services:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14;
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467.

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