Support is available for people impacted by suicide

Anyone who has been impacted or be-reaved by suicide, regardless of their rela-tionship to the deceased or the amount of time that has passed since the suicide oc-curred, can access support locally.
The StandBy Support After Suicide service for residents of Western NSW is coordinated by Mandi Smart, who is based in Dubbo, but will travel to Cobar as necessary (and at short notice).
The federally funded suicide support service has been running for over 20 years with the Western NSW branch established in July 2021.
Ms Smart, who has a Bachelor in Social Welfare and a Masters in Child and Adolescent Welfare, and has also previously worked in the area of mental health, said they started taking referrals last August.
She was in Cobar on Friday and called in to The Cobar Weekly office to talk about the practical and clinical support services she and her colleagues (and also their broad range of contacts), can provide.
“We act as a central point of coordination for a person’s support needs,” Ms Smart ex-plained.
“It’s about letting the person or the family tell us what their needs are then we go out and do the leg work to find the services that meet their needs.
“We can refer them to those services and, because we stay in touch with those people for 24 months, it gives us the opportunity to make sure they stay engaged with those ser-vices as they need them.”
She said they can provide support to indi-viduals, families, groups of all sizes, schools, workplaces, sports teams, and whole of com-munities.
Also importantly, they can offer help to First Responders, health workers and service providers.
“Research shows us that people who have multiple exposures to suicides are in the high-er risk groups of people who actually suicide themselves so it’s really crucial that we re-member those people when we are providing support. It’s also important that they have that opportunity to debrief with us if that’s what they are looking for. The debrief can also be anonymous if they want.”
Ms Smart said the service is available at a time and place that suits their client, and that support can be provided face-to-face, over the phone or through Telehealth.
“We provide emotional comfort, psycholog-ical first aid, and promote adaptive coping.”
Ms Smart said they have access to a long list of various services they can refer their clients to.
“Some of those services could be anything to do with housing, accommodation, psychol-ogy, referrals to mental health providers or doctors, and we can also help with education, training and specialists,” she said.
Ms Smart said even if someone is going through a trauma or crisis that is not directly related to a suicide, they can still link them to a service that can provide the support they need.
She said while they are not a suicide pre-vention service, they are all “assist trained” and can provide suicide intervention help.
“And if it’s someone who’s concerned for a friend, we can provide pathways to help pre-vent that hopefully,” she said.
StandBy support is free, confidential and available 24/7.