Media representatives assist in raising awareness of the impact of suicide on the community. Yet, too often the issue of postvention (i.e. supports and interventions after a suicide loss) is not included in suicide related stories, or postvention is confused with the topic of suicide prevention.
WINGS of Hope aims to share information about postvention and the potential increased risk of suicidality amongst those bereaved by suicide. Through educating government, media representatives and our community, the Association aims to prevent harm and increase awareness.
The Association will disseminate educational information releases, or media articles, each year to assist the education process.
Feedback is welcome via email@example.com
A resource for media professionals regarding reporting on suicide stories:
A media training guide will be added to help the bereaved consider the potential risk and benefits of sharing their stories via the media.
For advice on talking to the media contact Leigh White, publicity officer, WINGS of Hope, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Suicide bereavement is an intense form of grief which can be complicated and contagion raises the risk of further suicide amongst the bereaved. The Senate Inquiry into suicide in Australia reported: “The Commission's child death review had found 42 per cent of young people who completed suicide did so after the suicide, or attempted suicide of a friend, family or community member.”
The ongoing silent stigma after a suicide loss can lead to further risk and isolation amongst the bereaved. The need to break down this suicide stigma and support children and young people following a suicide death is essential.
Since 2007, an emerging registered harm prevention charity, WINGS of Hope, has delivered harm prevention resources, education and support to the suicide bereaved community. Projects included their online resource and now a DVD and book for children bereaved by suicide. The website was designed to provide information and resources for the bereaved or at risk with updates from the bereaved community. This month will see the launch of the Red Chocolate Elephants DVD and book for children and families bereaved by suicide.
After receiving counselling from the Bereaved by Suicide Service, a group of the bereaved group members set themselves on a path to provide resources and reduce harm, with the goal of inspiring new growth amongst the bereaved by suicide community.
“One of our early projects was to support the development of the Red Chocolate Elephants, by Dr Diana Sands, which is a parent or counsellor guided educational DVD and book resource for children and families bereaved by suicide,” said Leigh White, President of WINGS of Hope.
Since 2009 WINGS of Hope supporters have volunteered their time and completed minimarathons to raise community funding in support of this project. The WINGS of Hope Board and all of its supporters are delighted to see the launch of the much anticipated Red Chocolate Elephants DVD and book.
An early response to the Red Chocolate Elephants, by internationally recognised suicide
bereavement researcher, John R. Jordan, PhD, states “In a world where children are often forgotten mourners, this unique combination of text, pictures, and voices – all in the words of
bereaved children themselves – is a treasured safe haven for young people to hear their
fears, questions, and difficulties put into words by other children just like them.”
“Suicide loss can be extremely difficult to talk about with adults, and there is an enormous stigma around the issue,” said Leigh White. “Until now, there were no comparable books addressing the complex issues associated with this type of death.”
Children and suicide is an area that no-one seems to want to deal with, so when a parent or relative of a child is faced with the loss of a family friend or loved one to suicide, it is essential they are able to access coping tools and support. It is crucial that a child’s carer or parent finds out about information and strategies that can help talk about the death and work out ways to cope.
Created by Dr Diana Sands, the DVD features actual voices and art of children bereaved by suicide, recorded during their group work when they became bereaved by their father’s suicide. This research based resource enables children to really ‘connect’ with the voices of someone else, in their shoes, with similar experience. This helps to reduce isolation and risk in our community
Leigh White, WINGS of Hope founding member and President, stated “It’s a sad indictment that in the past there were no resources available that specifically dealt with our children’s fears, anxiety and questions around suicide. But now, Red Chocolate Elephants is available – and WINGS of Hope aims to place a copy in as many schools, youth projects, hospitals and workplace HR departments as possible.”
To celebrate the bereaved community’s support for WINGS of Hope’s efforts to reduce harm in the community, a celebration of our growth after our loss and the achievements of WINGS of Hope will take place 5-7pm Friday 8th April, 2011.
An invitation only media event is planned for 3-4pm Friday 8th April, where the Red Chocolate Elephants movie will be screened and the author of the book, Dr Diana Sands, will speak about the project and what this means to the bereaved by suicide community. Members of WINGS of Hope and other suicide bereaved people are available for comment. RSVP by 3pm Thursday 7th April via email@example.com
Dr. Diana Sands is the Director of the Bereaved by Suicide Centre, Sydney, and has for over two decades provided community education, training, family counselling and group prprograms for adults, adolescents and children bereaved by suicide. Dr Sands academic research has developer her Walking in the Shoes Tripartite model of suicide bereavement.
The Red Chocolate Elephants project was supported by WINGS of Hope Inc., the voice of people bereaved by suicide, a not for profit Association, incorporated in New South Wales under the Incorporated Associations Act 1984. c/- PO Box 857, Manly, NSW, 1655, Australia
WINGS of Hope Inc. is a registered harm prevention charity working to reduce harm in the area of suicide prevention and mental health. WINGS of Hope’s mandate is to prevent harm and inspire new growth after suicide loss amongst the bereaved community.
The WINGS of Hope Association gratefully acknowledges the continued support for the website resource funded through the Mosman Municipal Council Local Community Grant scheme. To remain sustainable and keep the good work going WINGS of Hope supports rely on community support. Donations over $2 are tax deductible and can be made by clicking here.
You are not alone in your loss.
- In 2006, Australian suicides accounted for nearly 1/5 of all deaths amongst young men aged 20 to 34.
- Suicide remains a major external cause of death, accounting for more deaths in Australia than transport accidents.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data.