The 6th Australian Postvention Conference 13 – 15 June 2019 | Sydney Masonic Centre

Conference registration and abstract submissions open

postvention conference

Building Hope Together
The Journey After Suicide
The 6th Australian Postvention Conference
13 – 15 June 2019 – Sydney Masonic Centre

Postvention Australia and the Conference Committee are pleased to announce that registration and call for abstracts for the 6th Australian Postvention Conference are now open.

Abstract submissions close Friday 8th February 2019.

More information can be found on the conference website:

Register now

Submit your abstract

Conference Information

The 2019 Conference focuses on building hope together through the three main conference themes -encouraging resilience, incorporating lived experience and facilitating collaboration between stakeholders. The conference encourages the sharing and discussion of ideas, stories and research to bring positive outcomes for the postvention sector. This conference brings together those bereaved by suicide,trauma victims and survivors, Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, defence force services, emergency services and individuals/organisations working the field of suicide bereavement, trauma and loss.

Conference Program

The three-day conference commences with half-day and full-day pre-conference workshops on Thursday 13 June 2019

These workshops are followed by two days of plenaries, workshops and presentations from International and Australian presenters. We are privileged to have international guests and invited Australian speakers who are well known in Australia and internationally for their research and expertise in trauma and bereavement.

International presenters include:

  • Dr Julie Cerel (President, American Association of Suicidology)
  • Ken Norton (NAMI NH, Connect Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention Program)
  • Sharon McDonnell (Suicide Bereavement UK)

Australian presenters include:

  • Pat Dudgeon (Deputy Chair, Australian Indigenous Psychologist’s Association, Chair, National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Leaders Mental Health, Co-Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group, Director, National Empowerment Project, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project and the UWA Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP))
  • Myfanwy Maple (Professor of Social Work, and Chair of Research, School of Health, University of New England)
  • Adele Cox (Project Director, National Indigenous Critical Response Project, Chief Executive, Thirrili Ltd)


The conference concludes with a special Healing and Remembrance Service. The Healing and Remembrance service provides an opportunity for individuals, families and friends to come together to share and be supported in their grief as we honour and remember their loved one.

My Story – A Lived Experience

A bereaved person will share their story at the beginning of each plenary to link their lived experience with the theoretical aspect of the conference. While it is often challenging to find the words to give expression to the experience of loss to suicide, we know that telling one’s story, sometimes through the use of creative art forms, can be healing and strengthening. It can also be an effective way to break down the silence and stigma often associated with suicide. The Mindframe guidelines will be used to steer these speeches. For more information, please visit Lived Experience Speaker.

This conference is primarily for the bereaved by suicide and for those working with/supporting the bereaved. This conference will bring together family and friends who have been bereaved by suicide, the Indigenous, teachers, youth workers, social workers, mental health professionals, general practitioners and medical personnel, clergy, emergency services personnel, researches, service providers and funeral service personnel.

There will be limited bursaries available for the bereaved by suicide and/or support group facilitators who would otherwise be unable to attend.

Conference Objectives

  1. To provide a voice for those bereaved by suicide through creative expression and integrating the stories of those bereaved by suicide across Australia
  2. To reach out and support with Hope and Healing, military and emergency services personnel suffering intense emotional trauma, shock, grief and physical and mental ill health
  3. To provide support, information and opportunities for networking and collaboration between bereavement researchers, educators, policy writers, service providers, funeral directors, Indigenous communities, emergency services, military personnel, and those bereaved by suicide
  4. To contribute to an evidence base through the exchange of research and practice knowledge
  5. To raise the prominence of suicide bereavement issues nationally

To highlight the range of Australian bereavement services and promote an integrated and cohesive approach to the needs of bereaved people, Indigenous communities, military and emergency service personnel at a local, state, national and international level.

About Postvention Australia

Postvention Australia is a not-for-profit organisation designed to prevent suicide through supporting and helping people who are ‘left behind’ after a suicide takes place. It originated from accumulating evidence that this is a neglected area of suicide prevention: people bereaved through suicide are up to eight times more likely to take their life than the general population. Postvention Australia – the National Association for the Bereaved by Suicide – is a national voice for those bereaved by suicide and it is our task to seek consultation with those bereaved listen with understanding and compassion. The Postvention Australia website has a listing of suicide bereavement support groups, as well as other resources.

The problem of suicide bereavement

Over 3,000 people take their lives each year in Australia, which equates to 8 persons lost to suicide each day. For each suicide death, new research shows at least 135 people are directly affected when a person suicides. Extrapolating from this information, this equates to over 1000 people affected by suicide each day in Australia. Given the longevity of suicide grief, too many are in need of help. The social, emotional and economic consequences of suicide are immense. To lose someone to suicide commonly results in intense emotional trauma, shock, grief, guilt, physical and psychological ill health and adverse social circumstances. The bereaved by suicide are up to eight times the risk of suicide than the general population.

Suicide touches everyone, all ages and incomes, all racial, ethnic and religious groups in all parts throughout Australia. In remote and very remote areas, the rate of suicide was 1.7 times that of major cities in 2015. The ripple effect created by suicide can affect family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues as well as clubs, schools and churches.

Information and support have been demonstrated as important in helping the bereaved survive through the pain of grief. Recent research has demonstrated that getting help and information is still a haphazard process without a clear pathway to help. Effective postvention is prevention.

Conference Information

I ask if you would please circulate conference information to the bereaved by suicide and service providers in your region.

We value the contribution of postvention service providers and we are developing close relationships/partnerships with service providers throughout Australia.
For further information I can be contacted on my mobile, 0412 164 575 or by email,

For and on behalf of:

Chair, Prof. Diego De Leo AO, Deputy Chair, Prof. Ian Webster AO, National Secretary, Alan Staines OAM (Envoy) and the Board of the Postvention Australia Conference Committee


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