The LaunchPad workshop is a one-day program where people with a lived experience of suicide come together as a group in a planned, coordinated and impactful manner. Similar to principles of community psychology, the LaunchPad workshop focuses on using the lived experience of suicide insights to question traditional modes of thought and contribute to social change (Laverne & Perkins, 1987).
Using Sherry Arnstein’s theory of Ladder of Citizen Participation (2019), the LaunchPad workshop offers individuals the opportunity to fulfil their own sense of empowerment by helping participants understand a new social model of community sustainability. People with a lived experience of suicide are well positioned to help inform suicide prenvetion activities drawing on insights from their lived experience to provide solutions to the community.
Arnstein’s Ladder is used as a metaphor to explain the different type of audiences engaged throughout a planning process and access to power, and through the LaunchPad workshop. The participants are rapidly upskilled throughout the process from manipulation through to and including to citizen control (see figure 1). Roses in the Ocean and lived experience attending the workshops are engaged by organisations right along the spectrum as depicted in the ladder in figure 1. At the completion of the workshop, participants are provided with the tools in order to effectively collaborate with organisations relating to suicide prevention activities.
During the workshop, John Viljoen’s Strategic Management: Planning and Implementing Successful Corporate Strategies (1994) is applied to help group members plan for long term optimal effort through developing community-based missions, values and areas of critical focus. The group strategises their growth by identifying critical networks which can contribute to the success of suicide prevention campaigns. They also examine potential barriers to the group’s objectives, through leveraging the individuals’ personal and professional skills, as well as their lived experience insights.
A theoretical underpinning for the group’s success, follows the group’s formation, by drawing on Dominque Steinberg’s Mutual Aid Approach to Working with Groups: Helping people to help people (2004). Steinberg’s works explore how the power of the dialectical process of sharing ideas and views, creates a culture within the group. This is used to develop a set of practising guidelines, discussing taboos to breakdown the stigma of suicide and to cultivate a sense of ‘we are all in the same boat’ phenomena.
Figure 1: Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizen Engagement (Arnstein, 2019)
Levine, M., & Perkins, D. V. (1987). Principles of community psychology: Perspectives and applications. Oxford University Press.
Arnstein, S. (2019). A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Planning Association, 85(1), 24–34.
Viljoen, J., Strategic Management, Planning and implementing successful corporate strategies, Longman, Melbourne, 1994
Steinberg, D. (2004). The mutual aid approach to working with groups: Helping people to help people (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Haworth Press.