our story

“Roses in the Ocean” was born when a young Australian chose to end his life on August 31st 2008.

A young man of 43, ex RAAF Fighter Pilot Combat Instructor and International Commercial Pilot, highly respected, and loved by so many – gone.  And yet, with all the medical, scientific and technological advances of the 21st century, we understand little of what causes such tragedy to occur or how to treat it.

Mark was one of a reported 2191 people in Australia who took his or her own lives in 2008.  Mark is the brother of ‘Roses in the Ocean’ Founder, Bronwen Edwards.

Bronwen and her family gathered at Mark’s favourite beach at his home in Coolum Beach, Australia, and placed roses in the ocean a couple of weeks after his funeral.  The day provided an opportunity for Bronwen and her husband to speak to their young children about why their Uncle had died.

The significance of the rose and the ocean

Roses are a beautiful, dignified flower, yet their thorns add complexity, requiring handling with care.  They are symbolic of our deepest emotions: love, friendship, sorrow, hope.

The ocean, with its waves crashing upon the shore, and calmer waters out deep, provided a symbolic platform of the turbulence felt by people who are coping with a difficult stage in their life, and indeed for some, coping with suicidal thoughts.

Placing roses in the ocean is:

  • Representative of your ability to reach out and connect to others with understanding, acceptance and support.
  • Indicative of your preparedness to ask for help.
  • Acknowledgment of all the lives lost to suicide.
  • Demonstrative of your desire to play an active role in suicide prevention.

For Mark’s family, it was important the children understood that just because you were struggling and sad it did not mean you would die.

We have to make it “okay” to reach out to others and seek help when “life” seems too difficult.

Through various events, Roses in the Ocean engages the community in safe, open discussion around suicide prevention; empowers people to help prevent suicide by sharing the stories and knowledge of those with a lived experience;  and helps to build a community where people proactively reach out to others in need, and people are comfortable seeking help for themselves.

Funds raised through “Roses in the Ocean” are used to host community events, support communities wishing to host their own event, and contribute to the ongoing operation of the Suicide Prevention Lived Experience Speakers Bureau (a collaborative project between Roses in the Ocean and Suicide Prevention Australia).

“My heart holds you just one beat away

the tears in my soul fall quietly every day

stay close, watch over me, from so many stars apart

roses in the ocean, you forever in my heart.”