lived experience of suicide is . . .

we define lived experience as . . .

…having experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone who has been suicidal, or been bereaved by suicide.

People with the lived experience acknowledge that many other lives are impacted by suicide and collectively we all can make a difference to reduce suicide in Australia.

Roses in the Ocean engages and empowers people with a lived experience of suicide to change the way suicide is spoken about, understood and prevented.

A new and innovative approach is required to stem the tide of suicide: those with lived experience need to be viewed as experts when designing, developing, implementing and evaluating suicide prevention activities. The prevailing focus on research and clinical expertise too frequently fails to see the person at the center of a crisis as well as their loved ones who ride the tsunami  effect of suicidal behaviour. This needs to change and with urgency. By adding a lived experience perspective, experiences that are inclusive of cultural and socio-cultural factors, we can contribute new insights and help frame a more compassionate approach to assisting those in crisis.

Roses in the Ocean works with suicide prevention experts in research, policy and service delivery to innovate better options to support those who are struggling to find a life worth living.

Roses in the Ocean is the only organisation with the sole focus of changing the existing paradigm of suicide prevention by utilizing the wisdom of lived experience. There is a tremendous opportunity for us to harness the untapped potential of lived experience and we believe that lives depend on it.

To date, Roses in the Ocean has been collaborating with a range of suicide prevention and mental health sector organisations including the Queensland Mental Health Commission, Mates in Construction, the National StandBy Response Service, the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), Spur Projects, Suicide Prevention Australia and SuperFriend. Our connections extend to organisations providing social services and wellbeing programs that complement suicide prevention such as Volunteering Queensland and QCOSS. We are constantly working to expand our relationships with sector leaders to co-create innovative responses for those in crisis.

Lived experience is embedded in all levels of our organisation from our Board of Directors to our Advisory Committee and Volunteer Management Committee.


Guiding principles on the inclusion of lived experience in suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention Australia developed the following guiding principles at a lived experience symposium in 2014. Bronwen Edwards, founder of Roses in the Ocean, was one of 35 lived experience participants at the symposium and played a part in shaping the guiding principles. We draw on these principles to guide our activities.

  • People with a lived experience have a valuable, unique and legitimate role in suicide prevention
  • Lived experience helps change the culture surrounding suicide and to preserve and promote life through compassion and understanding
  • Inclusion and embracing diversity of individuals, communities and cultures enriches suicide prevention
  • Empower and support those with lived experience to share their insights and stories with a view to preventing suicide
  • Utilise our lived experience to educate, promote resilience, inspire others and instill hope
  • People with lived experience support, advocate for and contribute to research, evidence-based practice and evaluation
  • All suicide prevention programs, policies, strategies and services will at all levels include genuine meaningful participation from those with lived experience
  • Encourage and nurture collaboration and partnerships between organisations and stakeholders