Eleasha Mitchell, Marianne Lawson, Rhiannon Beard, Dorothy Ratnarajah and USQ lecturer Nathan Beel at last month's workshop on suicide at USQ Fraser Coast.
Eleasha Mitchell, Marianne Lawson, Rhiannon Beard, Dorothy Ratnarajah and USQ lecturer Nathan Beel at last month's workshop on suicide at USQ Fraser Coast. Jocelyn Watts

Family members' reactions to suicide explored in workshop

SUICIDE expert Dorothy Ratnarajah will explore the meanings that bereaved family members make in their grief after the suicide deaths of close relatives.

She will speak at a counselling workshop on Thursday, August 15, at USQ Fraser Coast.

Titled Suicide Bereavement Narratives within Families, the workshop follows last month's session presented by Dr Ratnarajah, a clinical counsellor with 14 years' higher degree research experience in suicide bereavement.

"Families members have differing roles, expectations and histories about their relationships with those who die by suicide," she said.

"Subsequent to a suicide, it is these expectations and histories that shape and colour the grief narratives of surviving family members.

"Next week's presentation will include transcripts of the narratives shared by the participants in two qualitative research projects into suicide bereavement within families."

Findings from Dr Ratnarajah's research have been presented at seven international suicide prevention conferences and 10 national conferences.

Her research projects have sought information on the history of families in which a suicide has occurred.

This information includes what was happening in the family at the time of the suicide, knowledge about the family climate, communication style or ways of being with each other and the history of any addictions, abuse or other dysfunctions.

USQ Fraser Coast lecturer Nathan Beel said the workshop was part of a series aimed at providing quality human services and counselling professional development without the high cost of travelling to capital cities for equivalent opportunities.

"The monthly counselling workshops for human service providers and USQ students draw from local expertise," he said.

Anyone interested in knowing more about suicide is invited to join local human service providers and USQ students from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at USQ Fraser Coast, Room C210, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Pialba.

The cost $15 or, for USQ students, $5 with tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

For help with emotional difficulties, contact Lifeline on 131 114 or www.lifeline.org.au.

For help with depression, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or at www.beyondblue.org.au.

The SANE Helpline is 1800 187 263 or at www.sane.org.

For more workshop information and book, visit http://www.usq.edu.au/about-usq/engage/professional-development/human-services-workshops/professional-development-workshops



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