TouchPoints is a three-hour workshop that has been co-designed, developed and is delivered by Facilitators with a lived experience of suicide. This informative workshop is designed to give community members an insight into suicide through the lens of people who have personally experienced it, and to equip them with the right knowledge and practical tools to reduce the emotional pain experienced by many around us and ultimately to save lives. This workshop differs from other Gatekeeper training in that its evidence-based content is interwoven with the expertise of people who have experienced suicide firsthand.
Research informed content
The research evidence underpinning the content development of the TouchPoints workshop is based on aspects of the person-centered approach developed by Carl Rogers. Carl Rogers was a highly regarded humanist and psychoanalyst, who developed this approach during the 1940s to 1960s. The person-centered approach is largely based on the premise that people are their own experts in terms of what might be needed to achieve personal growth and fulfillment in life. Specifically relating to the content for this workshop, Rogers’ person-centred theory in On Becoming a Person : A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy is used to develop skills relating to relationships and human connection (Rogers & Ransom, 1961, pp.70).
Topics relating to social learning and self-efficacy are also explored during this workshop. To support this learning, the work of Albert Bandura, a living pioneer in social cognitive and social learning theories (Bandura, 2017) is used. His article, Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioural change (Bandura, 1977) correlates the importance of social learning and self-efficacy. This is important new learning for workshop participants as it helps them to understand the importance of their own unique intrinsic motivating factors for wanting to get involved in lived experience advocacy and how this can relate to their own journey of social and emotional healing.
Participants are introduced to concepts relating to suicide specific language and myths, which have been drawn from existing literature. In particular, the article Why we shouldn’t use the ‘C’ word (Beaton et al., 2013) provides a sound evidence base for helping participants grasp concepts relating to the use of stigmatising and safe language when discussing suicide. We also draw work from EveryMind Australia and Beyond Blue. It is perhaps important to note however, whilst we have and continue to draw on the great minds and work that already exists to inform our workshops, much of the content here is evidence -informed by people with a lived experience of suicide, over the ten years that Roses in the Ocean has been walking alongside and working with them.
Participants are also introduced to brief crisis intervention strategies to assist them while exploring what it might mean to be courageous when encountering someone who may be experiencing emotional pain or thinking about suicide. To support content relating to crisis intervention, the work of John Kalafat is used. In particular, the article An Evaluation of a School‐Based Suicide Awareness Intervention (Kalafat & Elias, 1994) provides evidence. Further supporting work is drawn from Conversations Matter, a practical online resource to support and effective community discussions about suicide at www.conversationsmatter.com.au. Once again, the actual voices of lived experience provide a strong evidence -informed platform for this material.
Bandura, A. (n.d.). No Title. https://albertbandura.com/index.html
Bandura, Albert. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191
Beaton, S., Forster, P., & Maple, M. (2013). Suicide and Language: Why we Shouldn’t Use the “C” Word. In Psych, 35(1), 30–31. http://www.psychology.org.au/Content.aspx?ID=5048
Kalafat, J., & Elias, M. (1994). An Evaluation of a School‐Based Suicide Awareness Intervention. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1943-278X.1994.tb00747.x
Rogers, & Ransom, C. (1961). On Becoming a Person : A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. Personne Houghton Mifflin Company.