System leaves families ‘unsupported and uninformed’

The Jesuit Social Services program provides support to those left behind after a loved one has ended their life (Jesuit Social Services)

A new Jesuit Social Services report shows that parents, partners, children and siblings are struggling in silence against a mental health system that they feel leaves them unsupported and uninformed to care for loved ones at risk of suicide.

For more than 15 years, Jesuit Social Services’ Support After Suicide bereavement program has provided counselling and peer support to those left behind after a loved one has ended their life.

The report draws on the experiences of more than 140 Victorians who described attempting to navigate the state’s mental health system to prevent a loved one from taking their life, the report paints the picture of a system significantly under stress even before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This report identifies some major gaps in the mental health system. It is important to note that this is not about casting blame on any organisation or group of individuals, but identifying the type of systemic reform needed to allow professionals to more adequately care for people in need of support,” said Support After Suicide manager Dr Louise Flynn.

“We understand that there are a range of contributing factors that may lead to someone taking their life. In this report, we focus on the mental health system and its failure to prevent suicide. We raise the voices of the loved ones left behind – these voices need to be part of the story.

“The need for a strong, effective and well-resourced mental health system is even more crucial as we continue to navigate our way through COVID-19, given the significant impact the pandemic has had on the health and wellbeing on many, and tragically, a possible increase in suicides.”


Report highlights areas for reform in mental health system to prevent suicides (Jesuit Social Services) 

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