Group endeavours to help loved ones left after suicide

Michealle Luijs is the facilitator of Gladstone’s only Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group.
Michealle Luijs is the facilitator of Gladstone’s only Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group. Brenda Strong GLAMICH

WHEN Michealle Luijs' son passed away just over four years ago, she had no where to turn.

Her 22-year-old son had committed suicide.

"I didn't really know where to turn to or where to go other than just the normal counselling," she said.

Michealle is the facilitator of Gladstone's only Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Group.

In the aftermath, she attended counselling every couple of weeks but felt there was no other person she could turn to.

"A counsellor studies all fields of situations but if you talk to other people who have gone through the same thing, you pick up that your reactions are normal," she said.

"It's more comforting talking to someone who actually knows what you've been through."

She said people who suffer from depression could also benefit from the meetings.

"They can see that what you leave behind is a lot of broken hearts and a lot of not understanding why."

If there are groups for alcoholics, gamblers and people suffering from cancer, suicide support should be offered in Gladstone too, she said.

"Suicide comes from depression; it's an illness."

"And with the right counselling and the right medication, you can get help."

The meetings originally started because she believed there wasn't enough support for people who had lost a loved one to suicide.

"After a certain amount of time other people sort of think it's time to get on with your life but you can't really," she said.

She considers talking as the best therapy.

"Talking to people who are in the same situation is always very helpful . . . because everyone understands."

The group has been operating since November last year and meets the second Thursday of every month at the Neighbourhood Centre, 105 Toolooa St.

If you would like to contact Michealle contact her on 0413 121 512.

Suicide support hotlines

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
  • Suicideline:1300 651 251