As the national leader in lived experience informed systems innovation, Roses in the Ocean has played a central role in the conceptual and practical development of this innovative new service model.

We have developed and led a range of lived experience informed co-design processes for alternatives models of care and support for people who experience suicidal crisis, their carers, and people who are bereaved through suicide, including Safe Spaces.

We are consistently sought out by the suicide prevention sector to provide our expert insights on how to enable and ensure the active and meaningful involvement of people with lived experience in co-design initiatives.

Our expertise in working with people with a lived experience of suicide, proven facilitation skills, and demonstrated capacity to develop and lead co-design initiatives, combine to bring a unique set of expertise to the development of local Safe Spaces.


Safe Spaces are drop-in style supports for people experiencing suicidal crisis that provide warm, welcoming environments in which to reduce distress.

The model was developed in recognition that suicidal crisis is often a response to challenging and distressing life events and so acute, clinical services such as emergency departments are not the best fit for people in emotional pain and distress.

Formal Safe Space services are typically staffed by peer workers with their own lived experience of suicidal crisis who can connect with guests through the mutual understanding that comes with meaningful shared experience.

There is an emerging evidence base for their therapeutic value in promoting hope and healing.


Through the process of leading the co-design of 15 Safe Spaces in a broad range of metropolitan and regional communities and with a rich and diverse range of community stakeholders, Roses in the Ocean has been able to clearly identify the common themes that have emerged about what communities are looking for and wanting from a Safe Space.

Regardless of geographic region, socio-economic status or cultural background, there is an undeniably strong appetite for non-clinical, community and lived experience of suicide led Safe Spaces that are locally co-designed to meet specific local demographic and geographical needs.


“being brave and courageous is considered a key principle and enabler of co-design. To be brave and courageous is believing that anything is possible. It is underpinned by optimism and a ‘can do’ attitude. It requires a shift in the usual way of doing things and understands that any challenge can be overcome with creativity and collaboration” (ACI, 2019, page 14).

NSW Government Agency for Clinical Innovation’s ‘A guide to build co-design capability’.

our co-design expertise

Our expertise in working with people with a lived experience of suicide, proven facilitation skills, and demonstrated capacity to develop and lead co-design initiatives, combine to bring a unique set of expertise to the co-design of innovative programs and services to improve supports for people impacted by suicide.  As a lived experience organisation, we have shown that we understand how to ensure critical input from lived experience is effectively engaged with all other stakeholders to achieve optimum outcomes that will meet the needs and wants of the community as a whole.

Our lead facilitators hold qualifications in Social Work, Law, Mental Health & AOD Support Work and Peer Work.

They also have extensive experience working in mental health services, both in the community-managed and public health sectors.

All lead facilitators have advanced skills-based knowledge of trauma-informed and recovery-oriented practice and a deep understanding of how to work effectively with marginalised individuals and groups, particularly priority populations in the context of Suicide prevention.

our co-design approach

Our approach is grounded in the values of Roses in the Ocean itself and is built on our co-design principles: honest conversation, equal partnership, inclusion, shared decision making, innovation, purposeful involvement, and integration.  These values and principles also inform internationally recognised best-practice co-design approaches.

Roses in the Ocean has invested time, expertise and resources into co-designing a co-design process specific to working with and designing services for, people with a lived experience of suicide. Our approach aligns with the values and principles of co-design outlined by the Agency for Clinical Innovation and is informed by the Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) method.

We are very attune to the need to manage expectations and support people during periods and situations where power imbalances need to be navigated respectfully to achieve best outcomes for the end user. Read about Managing Expectations and Power Imbalance.

Recent co-design projects led by Roses in the Ocean

Alternatives to ED Safe Spaces project – NSW Ministry of Health (2020-22)

Carer Support Service – collaborative project with Wesley Mission Qld, Gold Coast Hospital, Gold Coast HHS and Beacon Strategies.

Peer Enhancement Model of Beyond Blue’s The Way Back Support Service (TWBSS)

Local co-design of Peer Enhancement Model of TWBSS in pilot site

Lived Experience capacity building workshops

Lived Experience Resources

Accelerated co-design process

In light of time pressures being placed on some LHDs within NSW for the Alternative to ED, Roses in the Ocean has developed an accelerated co-design process to enable people with a lived experience of suicidal crisis and/or attempt, carers and health professionals to come together over a shorter period of time.  It is important to have commitment from all stakeholders however, that co-design is an iterative process, and as such further community consultation and re-design of the safe space is undertaken at the earliest possible time to further refine the model.

Roses in the Ocean and Beacon Strategies partnership

We recognise the importance of forging collaborative partnerships with government agencies and health and social services organisations that maximise the capacity of co-design initiatives to generate the best outcomes for everyone involved. We work with service providers on-the-ground to determine and clarify organisational parameters and  operational hard boundaries upfront and to ensure there is alignment with relevant lived experience, state or territory guiding principles for each individual co-design process.

To further strengthen this framework and provide additional support for the co-design process, Roses in the Ocean has partnered with Beacon Strategies, a mission-based health and social services consultancy, whose core areas of expertise include health planning, service design, project management and implementation support, evaluation and reporting, training and facilitation, and communication and engagement.  Beacon has expert capability in supporting service providers organisations to design, establish and implement service models in the health and social services sectors. Beacon Strategies has worked extensively with PHNs and LHDs in a number of States and territories including NSW.

Roses in the Ocean and Beacon Strategies are increasingly involved in leading co-design processes to ensure that collaborative, lived experience informed, human centred solutions to the addressing identified needs are developed, tested, monitored and evaluated in ways that produce programs and services that are effective and sustainable.

our co-design framework

Roses in the Ocean has developed a co-design framework structured specifically to suit the suicide prevention context and to capture the iterative nature of genuine co-design. The core elements of this framework are:

  • a specialised lived experience of suicide co-design facilitation team
  • lived experience stakeholder mapping and engagement, including recruiting people with a lived experience of suicide relevant to the project and screening them for readiness to actively and meaningfully participate
  • other stakeholder engagement in all phases of the co-design process, including people who are most affected by decisions about the types of services that are needed
  • training for all stakeholders on co-design values, principles, and processes
  • a commitment to internal and external evaluation of the co-design process and its outcomes
  • customised resources / tools / activities relevant and appropriate for the co-design of programs and services to improve support for people impacted by suicide and informed by existing best-practice methods in the health and social services sectors
  • a model of co-design grounded in the core values and principles of evidence-based co-design methodology that is committed to its fundamentally iterative nature