“Navigating the labyrinth of grief with support, information and strategies”

From here on I know I will have some sad days but now I have the skills and support to help me cope.

– Bereaved husband

When I lost my son to suicide I felt so alone and confused. The bereaved by suicide group was the only place I felt safe to show the pain I was in.

– Bereaved mother

It is difficult to describe the amazing journey and growth I've experienced in the group - the meetings were a safe oasis where I found peace in my pain.

– Bereaved sister

Diana Sands

Counselling and Group Programs

Dr. Diana Sands (she/her) is the Director of the Bereaved by Suicide Centre for Intense Grief, Lower North Shore, Sydney.

I acknowledge the Traditional custodians of the land on which I work, and pay my respects to the Elders, past and present.

Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists: arcapregister.com.au

Over her career Dr. Sands has provided counselling for loss and grief following sudden, violent and traumatic death and in particular individual, couple and family counselling for those who have lost a loved one through suicide.

This kind of grief is so intense it can shatter a person’s world. I create a safe haven to support the process of putting together the pieces and telling their story, with the loved one as a valued resource and comfort to assist in coping with grief.

Dr. Sands an experienced family and narrative therapist draws on a range of counselling modalities and the expressive and creative arts in supporting those bereaved. The counselling practice and unique mutual-help therapeutic, psycho-educational group programs for those bereaved by suicide are based on her research in suicide grief and the 'Tripartite Walking in the Shoes Model of Suicide Bereavement'. The group programs provide a space for a community of grievers to meet, gain support, resilience, and understanding with others who are also bereaved as they rebuild their life.

Dr Sands is a Clinical Member of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, and provides understanding loss and grief webinars, community talks and training workshops for professionals in Australia and Internationally. Diana is involved in activities to improve education, awareness and understanding of grief and bereavement. She is involved in a number of community and international organizations, as a member of the International Work Group Death, Dying and Bereavement, Co-Convenor of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) Postvention Special Interest Group. Convenor of PACFA NSW Leadership Group, and committee member on the College of Creative and Experiential Arts Leadership Group. Diana is the past Deputy Chair of Postvention Australia, and served for a number of years as Honorary Advisor to the Wings of Hope Charity. She has served on the NSW Executive Committee, National Association Loss and Grief, and as the NSW representative with Suicide Prevention Australia.


Diana is the author of a number of publications, including book chapters, academic journal articles and the book titled the 'Red Chocolate Elephants: For Children Bereaved by Suicide', which is used in schools, charity and community services throughout Australia and Internationally. This workbook and video resource offer practical ways to sensitively engage with children about the difficult questions of a death through suicide. To purchase or find out more information, click here.

Open to Hope Foundation

The Open to Hope Foundation provides an online forum with information and support so that people who experience loss can learn to cope with their pain, heal their grief, and invest in their future.

“The Red Chocolate Elephants is a remarkable resource for children bereaved by suicide. This book will be an excellent resource for parent and child to use together in trying to face the suicide of a loved one...”

— John R. Jordan, PhD, International Author, Professional Advisor Survivor Council of American Foundation Suicide Prevention, Clinical Consultant Samaritans Boston Grief Support


If you cannot effect payment please email: dianasands@bereavedbysuicide.com.au

Talking to Children After a Suicide

When a loved one dies by suicide there will be lots of confusing and different feelings that are hard to find the words for. Children need reassurance that they are loved and that nothing they did caused the death. Most children will have a limited understanding about what suicide means and will look for information from adults that they trust, to help them make sense of this raw and painful experience. Your readiness to listen, talk and support will assist their understanding and help them develop the resilience to cope...
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Bereaved by Suicide Logo

• Counselling

• Group Programs

• Community Education and Training Workshops


Wings of Hope's Annual Gathering

Rocky Point Island, Balmoral

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Diana with participants Resilience Cloak Workshop
The Compassionate Friends

Photo: The Compassionate Friends with Permission

Supporting Those Bereaved By Suicide Workshop

Workshop hosted by Dr. Diana Sands

Now Available

A chapter written by Dr Robert Neimeyer and Dr Diana Sands ‘Suicide Loss and the Quest for Meaning’ in Postvention in Action: The international handbook of suicide bereavement support.

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Australian Postvention
Pre Conference Workshop

Wings of Hope - Rememberance Day

Diana will be presenting Creating and Weaving the Continuing Bond UNSW

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Remembrance Gathering

Wings of Hope - Rememberance Day

Diana with Wendy McWilliam president Wings of Hope and Committee Members. The Gathering is held on International Survivors of Suicide Day

Mental Health Matters Conference

Wings of Hope - Rememberance Day

Diana at Mental Health Matters Conference with Jennifer Coen, Conference Convenor, and Alex

Diana with Elaine Jensen, Treasurer, Life Worth Living

Wings of Hope - Rememberance Day

Diana with Elaine Jensen, Treasurer, Life Worth Living, who have received generous funding for Red Chocolate Elephants books and video's to be placed in Schools and Community Organisations throughout the Narrabi District.

Red Chocolate Elephants on ABC Radio National

Cathy VanExtel of ABC Radio National produced today's story on The Red Chocolate Elephants DVD/books being delivered to schools and those in need in the Riverina region.

Listen to Wendy McWilliam, Acting President Wings of Hope and Lexi King, Volunteer, Friends of Pastoral Care, Leeton District Hospital speaking along with excerpts from Red Chocolate Elephants resource.

Diana with Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell and Rose Hogan, NSW North Coast Coordinator StandBy at the recent Red Chocolate Elephant Workshop held in Lismore.
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Weaving a Community Response in Hobart

Diana presenting
"Weaving a community response to those bereaved by suicide"

Suicide & Self-Harm Prevention Conference 2015

Dr. Diana Sands is presenting a Pre-Conference Workshop at the Suicide & Self Harm Prevention Conference, Cairns

Restoring the heartbeat of hope for those bereaved by suicide: the ‘walking in the shoes model.

Red Chocolate Elephants presentation in Melbourne

Dr. Diana Sands will be presenting on Red Chocolate Elephants at Childhood trauma Conference Melbourne

The 4th Australian Postvention Conference

The 4th Australian Postvention Conference at the University of New South Wales.

Restoring Heartbeat of Hope

Dr. Diana Sands will be presenting workshops in Sydney, New South Wales

Suicide Prevention through Postvention: Workshops in USA

Dr. Diana Sands will be presenting workshops in the US.

Survivors of Suicide Loss workshops in Canada

Dr. Diana Sands will be presenting 'Survivors of Suicide Loss' workshops in Canada.

Stop Press – Leading British Charity is distributing Red Chocolate Elephants throughout UK

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