'Grief is a cost of love': Compassionate Friends offers support, honours loved ones after a suicide loss

Compassionate Friends volunteer Margot McAllister says suicide grief is complex, which is why the group have multiple services available. Photo: Supplied.

Compassionate Friends volunteer Margot McAllister says suicide grief is complex, which is why the group have multiple services available. Photo: Supplied.

"Grief is a cost of love."

Margot McAllister lost her son, Kevin to suicide 35 years ago.

She still remembers she would wake up feeling like she was in a nightmare in the months following his death.

"When you wake up in the morning when the person has first died it gradually comes into your consciousness that this is real. It's not a dream. It's actually happened and they're gone."

Although the wounds of losing a child will never heal hers got smaller through the help of community and support services.

Returning the favour, Ms McAllister has been volunteering for The Compassionate Friends Mandurah suicide support group for almost 20 years.

The support service offers group, one-on-one, and telephone sessions all for free.

"We volunteer in honour of the memory of our children who have passed away," she said.

"Suicide grief is the most horrendous because you don't have any answers to your questions and there is always a certain amount of self blame.

"All of us that have been through it never forget what it was like in the early days so this enables us to fully understand what is happening with the grieving person.

"We companion the bereaved. We just walk alongside them and provide these supports."

According to Life in Mind, each suicide leaves about 135 people grieving with those closest to the person who died being at a high risk of suicide themselves.

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The group also works to destigmatise suicide and honour those who have died.

Suicide grief is complex, which is why Ms McAllister said having support from people who know what the bereaved are going through is so necessary.

"When your child dies by suicide people don't know what to say and there is not as much sympathy because there is still a stigma of suicide," Ms McAllister said.

"But the death is caused by a mental illness because had my son been able to logically think for one minute of what his death would do to the family he would've never done it."

This World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, Compassionate Friends is holding an event for those who've lost a loved one to suicide.

It will be held at the Rotunda on Mandurah Foreshore at 10am for a 10.30am start. There will be music, poems and readings to honour those lost and raise awareness of good mental health and the needs of those who grieve.

Bring a photograph if you wish. Name cards, bottled water and rosemary sprigs will be provided.

"We're getting people to realise that those who've passed away are not just statistics. Each statistic is a person with a family and friends."

If you want to find out more information about Compassionate Friends and its services, contact 9535 7761 or email tfcmandurah@bigpond.com

If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline (5 to 25 years) on 1800 55 1800.