Eclipse group for survivors of attempted suicide

New 8-week program begins Friday 5 April

SUICIDE can be a delicate topic to discuss. And for those who have themselves attempted suicide, talking about their experience can be especially difficult.

Fortunately, there’s help at hand. Lifeline Harbour to Hawkesbury (H2H) is set to launch the next cycle of their highly acclaimed Eclipse program, an 8-week support group for adult survivors of attempted suicide. This is the second year Lifeline H2H is running Eclipse, and the upcoming course begins on Friday, 5 April, 12–2pm.

Tragically, in Australia in 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15-44 years, and the second leading cause of death among those 45-54 years of age. In that same year, a total of 3,128 people died by suicide in Australia. For every death by intentional selfharm, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives—this equates to approximately 93,000 suicide attempts being made in this country each year, or 260 suicide attempts per day.

For survivors, the time after a suicide attempt can be extremely confusing and filled with a myriad of conflicting emotions. ‘Many attempt survivors feel embarrassed, ashamed or guilty about their attempt,’ says Eclipse facilitator, psychologist Amy Dyson. ‘Some feel angry that they are still alive while others are grateful.’ What’s more, the pain and problems that led a person to consider suicide in the first place are often still present.

The Eclipse support group aims to remove the stigma and shame associated with attempted suicide by affording participants a confidential, non-judgmental space in which to openly express their feelings about what brought them to contemplate suicide, and to build resilience by imparting coping skills to relieve emotional pain and exploring strategies for ensuring future safety. Crucially, Eclipse is not therapy, but an opportunity for participants to share experiences with others and to feel less alone.

Ms Dyson believes that chief among the many benefits gained from the program are ‘an understanding about why suicidal thinking happens, as well as a different perspective on hope despite chronic suicidality.’ Furthermore, Eclipse participants ‘learn ways to effectively communicate what they need when they are feeling vulnerable, as well as to identify available support and how to devise and enable their own action plan when they find themselves in a dark place.’

The feedback on the Eclipse program from previous course participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Comments received include: ‘Very helpful and thought-provoking … I learnt how to change my thought pattern’; ‘Overall, I feel it’s been one of the best support groups’; and ‘Amazing group—helped me stay alive.’

Eclipse is a free program that is held at Lifeline H2H’s centre in Gordon. While no referral is required to participate in the group, the support of a health professional is encouraged. For more information on this or other community support programs run by Lifeline H2H, please call 9498 8805 or email admin@lifelineh2h.org.au

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