Narelle Mason is a lived experience Program Coordinator / Facilitator at MESHA. She said the suite of resources and supports being developed through the postvention project will greatly benefit family members and colleagues in the after-effects of suicide.
“In my previous role as a police officer and in the Airforce, I experienced losing a mate, my colleague first-hand.
In my current role working with military and emergency service personnel and their families, suicides of old colleagues and interactions with their loved ones has shown me how little formal support is available and why we need ways to manage this shock and grief.
Everyone handles grief differently.
For some people chatting with their colleagues will help, but for others this may not be enough. In my experience, if I had required more support when I lost my colleague, I wouldn’t have known where to access it.
That’s the issue. There’s no formal process to find options or how to access resources when it’s needed either immediately or months later.
It’s a really difficult time for families and it can also impact the emergency services community who’ve lost one of their own.
The emergency service organisations that interact with bereaved colleagues and families do their best to provide information and help. But people only know what they know, and in a time of crisis, this information needs to be readily accessible and easy to understand.
The knowledge base about what is out there for support post suicide is very limited.
One solution doesn’t fit all situations, and if a suite of information was available, it will provide options to frontline organisations and to the families.
Hopefully with research and the development of a suite of resources, the Australian Defence Force and emergency services will be able to assist families and colleagues in a positive and proactive way.’’