New booklet helps funeral directors support families impacted by suicide

Supporting families bereaved by suicide - a practical resource for funeral directors - feature image for news article
  5 December 2023  NWMPHN   

Funeral directors often deal with people bereaved by suicide. Now they can utilise a free booklet full of information and advice to support their professional compassionate responses.

With their skills and experience, funeral directors are in a unique position to notice early signs of significant distress in people affected by suicide. This means they are ideally placed to begin the process helping families and communities mange the impacts, by guiding them towards appropriate resources and counselling.

The idea for the booklet – Supporting families bereaved by suicide: a practical resource for funeral directors – began when the subject was raised by a worker at Macedon Ranges funeral company Natural Grace.

Funeral directors guide cover
A guide for Funeral Directors (.pdf)

The matter was taken up by the Macedon Ranges Suicide Prevention Action Group (MRSPAG), which consulted widely with peer supporters, bereaved people and funeral directors, as well as the with the Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA), Jesuits Social Services, Support After Suicide, and Australia’s leading suicide postvention program, Standby.

The project was supported by North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN), which also funded its graphic design and printing.

“The desire for this document came from both sides of this interaction – those bereaved and the funeral directors,” explained MRSPAG secretary, Noelene Ward.

The booklet includes information on understanding the particular grief often associated with suicide. It also contains practical suggestions for how to support families through the funeral arrangements and the acute bereavement experience. This includes using culturally safe language, and providing referral to appropriate support services.

It will be distributed across the Macedon Ranges region, and to funeral directors around Australia courtesy of the AFDA.

To download a copy visit

To find out more about NWMPHN’s work in suicide prevention visit