Standby: Support after Suicide (National)

Losing someone to suicide can be overwhelming and confusing and can present a wide range of emotions. StandBy provides local support to people affected by suicide.

Contact: Standby Operations Manager, Geoff Timm
Phone: 04022 54831 Email:

Established in 2002, StandBy is a program of United Synergies which is designed to meet the need for a co-ordinated community response to suicide. This suicide postvention program is dedicated to assisting people and communities impacted by suicide. StandBy provides support services all around Australia to anyone who has been impacted by suicide at any stage in their life.  StandBy’s support can be accessed by a wide range of people and groups who have been affected, either directly or indirectly by suicide, including families and friends, witnesses and community groups. Services are available round-the-clock and include telephone or face-to-face support at a time and place which is best suited to the client. This support is free and is provided by local caring staff, committed to the well-being of the person or group impacted. Depending on need, StandBy will arrange follow-on support from existing local services and groups, or simply provide information and links to other available services. Follow-up contact may continue for up to one year to ensure that clients receive sufficient help to enable them to recover from their trauma. StandBy works with the community to deliver workshops and education programs to encourage and enable increased knowledge and awareness of suicide and suicide bereavement.

StandBy operates nationally by partnering with local organisations, engaging their expertise within the community to deliver the most effective and culturally suitable support for each circumstance. Locally tailored community workshops and education programs are provided to increase awareness of suicide and suicide bereavement to assist people within a community to provide support to others within their community. To summarize, in addition to community education, StandBy provides a national community-based suicide bereavement service which provides a co-ordinated community response to suicide.  This is done by providing a central point of co-ordination which connects people to the support they need through referrals to services, groups and organisations within their local area.

StandBy aims to

  • Enable communities to provide a co-ordinated response to suicide
  • Promote respect, equality and the inclusion of all members of the community
  • Value the experiences and courage of people bereaved or impacted by suicide and the willingness of local communities to support them
  • Work with communities and individuals towards a shared vision of hope and unity
  • Operate nationally by partnering with local organisations and engaging their expertise within the community to deliver the most effective and culturally suitable support
  • Deliver tailored community workshops and education programs to increase suicide awareness
  • Enable community members to support each other through traumas associated with bereavement by suicide
  • Enhance its services and provide the best possible outcomes for clients

StandBy has a Support Information Pack1 which consists of a variety of information sheets, each dealing with a possible aspect of suicide bereavement or issues which may be faced by people impacted by suicide. Below are links to some information sheets that are available.

  1. What Happens Now?
    This sheet explains people you and your family may be involved within the coming days.
  2. Grief after Suicide
    This sheet explains the grieving experiences which those bereaved by suicide may encounter.
  1. Supporting Children and Young People
    Here, tips to help children and young people understand and better cope with the suicide of a family member or friend are provided.
  1. Having Trouble Sleeping?
    Explanations of why sleep deprivation may occur during suicide bereavement and tips on how to best cope are given.
  1. Unwelcome Intrusive Thoughts – (Flashbacks)
    Techniques to assist the management of unwelcome intrusive thoughts are detailed.
  1. Services for National Support
    A list of contacts.

In 2018, an independent evaluation of the StandBy program was conducted by the Science of Knowing2. This evaluation measured the well-being of 545 people who had been bereaved by suicide. The evaluation compared StandBy clients whose loss was within the last 12 months to a control group who were not StandBy clients and whose loss was also within the last 12 months. Findings were that StandBy clients were significantly less likely to be at risk of suicidality, to experience the grief reaction of a loss of social support, to experience feelings of social and overall loneliness, to report experiencing mental health concerns or to report experiencing a loss of social connections. Furthermore, support from StandBy was assessed as more effective than the support of a general healthcare service. When comparing StandBy clients with a control group who received other types of support, such as a support group, GP or psychologist, the same trends were found. Those receiving support from StandBy had a significantly lower risk of suicidality, mental health concerns and social isolation following the loss of a loved one.


  • Over two-thirds of people who accessed StandBy reported that the program staff had helped them make some sense of their loss
  • Four out of five people reported that they did not have to wait long to access support services referred to them by StandBy
  • Nine out of ten people supported by StandBy reported that they believe StandBy is an important form of support for people bereaved by suicide

Promising program, assessment pending

  1. Standby: support after suicide. Resources.
  2. Gehrmann M, Dixon S, Visser V, et al. StandBy National Client Outcomes Project: summary of project results. 2018.

Life for Koori Kids (LFKK)

Life for Koori Kids (LFKK) is an Australian not-for-profit voluntary organisation that supports children of Aboriginal heritage in Sydney’s inner city to overcome challenges and realise their potential.

LFKK provides an open network of support for families within the community, whether it be through education and training programmes, sporting activities, medical and dental support or strengthening Aboriginal cultural heritage.

Contact: Ailsa Gillett, OAM