StandBy Support After Suicide (StandBy) is Australia’s leading suicide postvention program dedicated to assisting people and communities bereaved or impacted by suicide.

StandBy is a program of Youturn Limited, established in 2002 to meet the need for a coordinated community response to suicide. Almost twenty years later it has grown into an established and respected national program.

From limited funding opportunities and resources in the early years, to becoming Australia’s leading provider in suicide postvention today, there has been an unwavering commitment to collaboration, continuous improvement and evaluation.

StandBy currently receives annual funding from the Australian Government (Department of Health) and NSW Ministry of Health to provide support to people bereaved or impacted by suicide, a population who are known to be at greater risk of suicide.

This last year has seen StandBy expand from servicing 11 Primary Health Networks (PHN) to 31 PHN regions, a huge achievement, enabling StandBy to work towards providing all Australians with universal and equitable access to postvention.

StandBy operates nationally by partnering with local organisations, engaging their expertise within the community to deliver the most effective and culturally suitable support for each individual circumstance.

Locally tailored community workshops and education programs are provided to increase awareness of suicide and suicide bereavement to help enable communities to support one another.

StandBy is committed to ensuring all Australians have equal access to evidenced, informed, well-coordinated and timely post suicide support, and those with lived experience of suicide bereavement are central to everything they do.

Strategic Plan

Our Strategic Direction lays the foundations and offers a framework from which we focus and build momentum towards our goals, report our outcomes and plan our future focus.

1.Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia, 2020. Available online at:; 2. World Health Organization. Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative. Geneva: World Health Organization (2014). 89 p; 3. Shneidman E. Foreward. In: Cain A, editor. Survivors of Suicide. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas (1972), ix–xi; 4. Cerel J, Brown M, Maple M, Singleton M, van de Venne J, Moore M, et al. How many people are exposed to suicide? Not six. Suicide Life Threat Behav. (2019) 49:529–34. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12450; 5. Andriessen, Rahman, Draper, Dudley, & Mitchell, 2017.

StandBy Achieves National Expansion

Following an additional $10 million Commonwealth Government investment, StandBy has expanded in 2020-21 to achieve national coverage of postvention for the first time.

The national expansion has included working with our current providers to establish services in new sites in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, and tendering processes to identify partners for new sites in South Australia and Victoria.
StandBy has worked with our current partners to expand services into:

  • West Moreton/Darling Downs and Western Queensland (Uniting Care)
  • the Gold Coast, Hunter New England Central Coast and northern Western New South Wales (Social Futures)
  • the Australian Capital Territory, Murrumbidgee, southern Western New South Wales and Western Victoria (Wellways)
  • Perth and throughout Western Australia (Anglicare Western Australia).

We have also commenced new partnerships to establish new services:

  • Adelaide and Country South Australia (Anglicare South Australia)
  • Melbourne and Gippsland (Jesuit Social Services).

We’re currently rolling out services in the new regions, with all sites to be fully operational by the end of 2021. The addition of these new sites makes StandBy available in every region of Australia, ensuring all Australians have access to postvention services when they need them.

Future Focus: This now enables StandBy to fulfil our vision to ensure that ‘Every community in Australia is safe, inclusive and supportive of those bereaved or impacted by suicide.’

Preferred Partners

A preferred partner structure has been established as a foundation towards national coverage.

StandBy National partners with respected local organisations to deliver the StandBy Model across Australia and is responsible for all aspects of:

NSW Post Suicide Support Consortium Partners
(funded by the NSW Government)

StandBy leads the NSW Post Suicide Support initiative in a consortium arrangement, partnering with Jesuit Social Services, Roses in the Ocean and University of New England across metropolitan, regional and remote NSW as a result of $4.2 million investment by the NSW Government, under the ‘Towards Zero Suicides’ priority:

Post Suicide Support is available throughout Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the NSW South Coast.


Investing in research, innovation, continuous improvement and training to deliver contemporary support after suicide.


Alongside StandBy’s national expansion we have continued to develop new capabilities to better serve our communities’ needs.

StandBy coordinators are now available as single points of contact for support in every PHN area, with the workforce bringing skills from community services, education, social work and many other relevant disciplines.

We have further improved our training and workforce development programs including improvements in our support team training and a major revision of our staff database training using an interactive video-based method.

We completed a major new edition of our operational manual to reflect our expanded footprint and further refinement of the StandBy model.

Our community workshops were redeveloped to provide a more trauma-informed focus and using more person-centred language that better reflects StandBy’s non-clinical approach. We piloted YouMe~WhichWay, a new workshop and community development program, with Aboriginal communities in Queensland and the Northern Territory.

New resources were completed including a collaboration with Lifeline for venue and site managers where a public suicide has occurred. Other resources in development include a grief journal for adults, following the success of our children’s grief journal, and a culturally safe suicide bereavement resource for Aboriginal children and young people.

The NSW Post Suicide Support model sees us increasing the range and accessibility of services we provide including through specialised bereavement counselling via Jesuit Social Services, the development of a suicide bereavement peer workforce in collaboration with Roses in the Ocean, and further research into our service delivery with the University of New England.

Our newly national scope has enabled increased cooperation with other national organisations including the National Indigenous Postvention Service, headspace and Beyond Blue.

We have also established a new governance structure to reflect our national service delivery, which engages our providers and other partners at executive, management and service delivery levels.

Future Focus
We continue to develop new approaches in our training, workshops and resources, including greater customisation of StandBy’s support for key communities, and using new technologies to increase our accessibility.

Increasing community capacity, connection and resilience through delivering person-centred support and whole of community post suicide responses.


Well respected research consultancy, the ‘Science of Knowing’, has facilitated a number of evaluations of the StandBy model and its efficacy over recent years. The most recent study, undertaken 2020 – 2021, measured changes in grief experiences and levels of suicidality for people who have accessed StandBy support, compared with people bereaved by suicide who have not. The study also measured people’s opinions about the support provided by StandBy.

The positive results from this study support those from previous evaluations, proving that:

  • Within 12 months after their loss, people who received StandBy’s support reported significantly lower levels of suicidality and loneliness, than people who had not received StandBy support
  • Research has consistently found that StandBy plays an important role in preventing further suicides amongst bereaved people

Overall, results on satisfaction with the StandBy program remain very high. In particular, people confirmed they would recommend StandBy to others, and believe they would not have received such a high quality of support elsewhere, and that they would not have easily coped without the support of StandBy.

Future Focus

Information collected from the study is being used to improve and monitor the quality of the service and improve outcomes for those bereaved by suicide.

StandBy will launch the latest research findings with a campaign to coincide with International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 2021.

Embracing the input of those with lived experience and service provision partners in a jointly owned national governance structure.

This year saw StandBy hold the inaugural StandBy National Representative Group meeting, albeit ‘virtually’ due to COVID travel restrictions. The purpose of the group is to collaborate with StandBy National on the implementation of the StandBy Strategic Plan including supporting service sustainability, national expansion, and quality improvements.

The National Representative Group is chaired by Karen Phillips, StandBy National’s General Manager, and membership consists of StandBy’s preferred partner organisations, members from the StandBy National team and other representatives of relevant key organisations, such as Roses in the Ocean.

The meeting was highly productive, and we were able to cover off on the initial key areas including:

  • StandBy National Representative Group Terms of Reference and StandBy Governance framework
  • Quality Improvement Program and requirements for our preferred partners
  • StandBy Portfolios by setting the scene and providing an update from StandBy regarding portfolios/populations we are focusing, the purpose behind why we are taking this approach and future plans for mapping assets
  • Lived experience workforce, the advisory structure and enhanced the peer workforce model
  • Lived experience vision and ways lived experience can be embedded into all aspects of the StandBy model
  • Communication and how the National Representative Group is a key place where we can consult about the communications we are developing, including mock-ups and design concepts

StandBy recognises the value of partnerships and external relationships in strengthening services and outcomes for the people and communities we support. StandBy understands that partnerships are critical to the success of our service, and we place emphasis on developing relationships with credible and knowledgeable individuals, groups, and partner organisations across priority populations and geographic regions.

Partnerships may take the form of joint project ventures, strategic alliances, advisory group membership, forums, or collaborative activities.

We value the expertise and collective voices of our preferred partners to:

  • Advise on our Strategic Plan
  • Identify potential opportunities for diversification of service offerings
  • Collaborate on advocacy activities that sustain and expand StandBy’s postvention services across Australia

Future Focus

StandBy continues to meet with the National Representative Group and other key stakeholders and contributors on a regular basis to embrace their input into our jointly owned national governance structure.

Increasing and diversifying StandBy’s service offering across settings, life courses and communities.

This year saw StandBy leading the NSW Post Suicide Support initiative in a consortium arrangement across metropolitan, regional and remote NSW as a result of $4.2 million investment by the NSW Government, under the ‘Towards Zero Suicides’ priority.

Post Suicide Support is an innovative, new model of service now available throughout Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the NSW South Coast. NSW state-wide coverage has been achieved through Post Suicide Support being implemented alongside the Commonwealth funded StandBy program.

This ground-breaking approach of the NSW and Commonwealth Governments funding services throughout NSW to ensure comprehensive state-wide service coverage is unique and demonstrates StandBy’s ability to pioneer sustainable and cost-effective funding and service modelling. It also plays an important step towards the National Agreement on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention and the bilateral discussions between Commonwealth and States/Territories to match funding for universal access to postvention.

Partnering with Jesuit Social Services, Roses in the Ocean and the University of New England, to form the new consortium, StandBy leads the delivery of the post suicide support initiative, for bereaved families, friends, colleagues, first responders and others in the community impacted by suicide.

The new service builds on existing expertise and resources to co-design supports. Services across NSW include:

  • Individual, non-clinical emotional and psychosocial support
  • Peer support provided by trained staff who are bereaved by suicide
  • Access to specialist bereavement counselling
  • Family-based support, for example family therapy and support for individual family members including children
  • Practical assistance, for example support dealing with police, media, coroners’ investigations, funeral arrangements, family etc.
  • A range of resources for specific situations, for example resources for how to talk to children after a suicide and to support workplaces after an employee suicide has occurred
  • Specific support programs and training for different cohorts, for example workplaces, sporting groups, first responders, families, children, young people, adult children and others

NSW Post Suicide Support has allowed StandBy to further enhance the StandBy model by increasing available support. The introduction of a dedicated peer workforce provides lived experience expertise input and peer-to-peer support in delivering services, training, and resource development. The service was co-designed with people with lived experience of suicide and experts in the suicide bereavement field. Other support includes specialised post-suicide counselling, one-on-one connections and support groups with other people bereaved by suicide.

Future Focus

NSW Post Suicide Support is receiving extensive recognition from the NSW Ministry of Health media team including planned ministerial announcements to assist with the promotion and awareness of the new service.

A new office is now being established in Burwood (Sydney) to house the StandBy and consortium team members, however there are also team members strategically placed across the service region to ensure effective and responsive service delivery.

Delivering quality and consistent support after suicide through effective systems, processes and structured support to service provision sites.

StandBy’s commitment to quality through effective systems and processes was again highlighted though the recent completion of the initial Quality Improvement Program (QIP) self-assessment with Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA). SPA partners with people with lived experience of suicide, consumers, clinicians, service providers and accreditation experts to develop the SPA Standards for Quality Improvement, 1st Edition (the Standards).

After completing the initial self-assessment, StandBy progressed to the next self-assessment phase. The process involved uploading rigorous evidence to each indicator to prove compliance against the Standards through an online electronic module format. The second self-assessment is reviewed through an independent accreditation hub.

Future Focus
StandBy’s next step is to progress to certification, which involves an offsite desktop review of documentary evidence and finally accreditation, which involves an onsite assessment from a team of independent auditors. This process underpins our commitment to continual improvement of the program and our dedication to excellence.

Increasing national awareness and achieving a genuine national presence ensuring that all Australians have equal access to support after suicide.

Increased funding and subsequent national expansion have allowed StandBy to establish a singular national support phone line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One of the defining features of the StandBy model is providing a single point of contact for connection and support. The new geotargeted 1300 727 247 number provides a single number for all Australians to reach their local StandBy support service from any location across the nation.

StandBy’s 1300 number coming into effect is a huge achievement for StandBy National. Not only does it provide a more seamless communications’ approach for those bereaved or impacted by suicide to access support, it also means that the number can be accessed by media professionals internally within the sector, via Mindframe’s help-seeking cards provided to media professionals. This means journalists can publish StandBy’s details in media articles that discuss suicide, alongside well-known support organisations such as Lifeline and Beyond Blue.

The singular, ubiquitous contact detail promotes our service awareness on a national scale and further cements StandBy’s position as Australia’s leading postvention service.

The first step in establishing the singular national 1300 phone line was to find a provider. StandBy selected ‘Coloured Lines Australia’ for functionality and cost effectiveness. The next step was to purchase a meaningful number, and we were thrilled to find 1300 727 247 was available (1300 Support After Suicide 24/7). The journey of setting up the 1300 number was not without challenges, specifically around mitigating technical nuances of the geotargeting technology.

We then recruited and trained a new after-hours phone team and implemented a robust support system for the team.

Future Focus
To ensure awareness of the 1300 service number, we have commenced a national promotional campaign to ensure all Australians can have equal access to support after a suicide.

The journey to achieve Australia-wide coverage has required the StandBy National team to also expand. Over this reporting period, the team has doubled in size. New positions include the StandBy National Partnership Manager, two additional StandBy National Partnership Coordinators, a Lived Experienced Coordinator, Marketing and Media Coordinator, two additional Office and Administration team members.

Consequently, we needed to find new office space to accommodate the growing team and StandBy National is now located in Maroochydore, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast (see photos in the gallery below). The wider StandBy support workforce around Australia has also grown significantly, connecting those bereaved and impacted by suicide to support in any location across Australia.