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.
Mark was one of the reported 2191 people in Australia who took their own lives in 2008, and is the brother of ‘Roses in the Ocean’ Founder, Bronwen Edwards.
Bronwen and her family gathered on Mark’s favourite beach at his home in Coolum Beach, Australia, and placed roses in the ocean a couple 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. For Mark’s family, it was important the children understood that just because you were struggling and sad, 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.
Roses in the Ocean was established because at the time, the word suicide was barely spoken, finding helpful help was near impossible and it was obvious that the people who knew what it was like to experience suicidal thoughts, make an attempt on their life, desperately try to help someone they love stay alive and those who were navigating loss through suicide, had no voice. They were not the people designing or delivering services, they were not the people who were advising governments on suicide prevention reform . . . and they needed to be. We set out to change that.
Listen to Bronwen’s story
From a small community event to international impact
Since 2011, Roses in the Ocean has evolved from hosting community events into the national lived experience of suicide organisation in Australia, recognised internationally for developing best practice in lived experience capacity building, integration and partnership. As the only 100% lived experience of suicide organisation of its kind, we have a significant role in collaboratively working with government and the suicide prevention sector to drive system reform and are at the centre of the establishment of a much broader suicide prevention system that reaches far beyond the health system alone. We continue to learn and grow as we build the path on which we walk, always listening deeply to people with lived experience of suicide and bringing our collective lived experience lens to everything we do.
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, is symbolic 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 wish to be able to ask for help.
- An acknowledgement of all the lives lost to suicide.
- Demonstrative of your desire to play an active role in suicide prevention