“What an honour it was for us to have Mark share his story and his wisdom with us at the Brisbane Chapter gathering of the Australian Counselling Association. We felt truly blessed with his presence enhancing the dynamic of our group.
Thank you for introducing us to this man who certainly represents Roses in the Ocean with integrity, honesty, pride, and commitment to checking the OK state of wellbeing of folks who might be walking in the shadow of suicide.”
Dr Judith R Boyland | Australian Counselling Association
Roses in the Ocean’s Voices of In-Sight Speakers Hub comprises of trained and supported professional speakers with a lived experience of suicide. Our Speakers, through their stories and experience, provide valuable insights and perspectives of suicide and suicide prevention that can increase awareness, understanding and confidence within their audience.
We define lived experience as . . . …having experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone through a suicidal crisis, or been bereaved by suicide.
Speakers are available to present throughout Australia, in a wide range of locations, including social sector organisations and corporate workplaces across all industries. World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) and World Mental Health Month (October) are popular times to engage our speakers.
Due to the high volume of requests during these months, please kindly provide a minimum of 30 days’ notice to enable us to reach out to our network and provide the appropriate speaker for your event.
Benefits of including a lived experience speaker in your event
Our Speakers have been trained to share their personal experience of suicide in the context of raising awareness, educating, providing insights into early warning signs, invitations for help, how to have difficult conversations, where to source help and what helped them through their own experience.
Organisations, clubs, workplaces, schools, community groups . . . we have speakers from all walks of life, with a wide range of experiences that can be matched to your specific needs. Whether you are looking to raise awareness or are responding to a recent suicide loss, our speakers can bring insights, comfort and hope to your audience.
Meet our lived experience of suicide speakers
It’s incredible how a lived experience of suicide can continue to impact your life at all different stages and in different ways, and as it does the depth of your insight and the breadth of your perspective grows. Whilst Brony has channeled her lived experience into founding, developing and leading Roses in the Ocean, she is always first and foremost a person with lived experience driven to ensure that suicide prevention is designed and delivered by the people who have walked in those shoes.
“Connecting with others through our own stories and experiences is a privilege, and knowing that sometimes that saves a life, is the only reason I need to keep sharing”
Brony has extensive public speaking experience nationally and internationally and is just as comfortable chatting around the table in a Men’s Shed, at a cattle sale out west, or in a large conference venue. What matters is being able to be part of the movement changing the way we collectively support people through life’s challenging times.
Rhett is a builder, a father of 3, a husband, a volunteer Lifesaver and someone who wants to make a difference.
His Lived Experience of suicide has made him work hard to help make life better for others in similar situations – both by putting himself forward to speak and also to help improve health services via Lived Experience input.
He has spent 4 years attending monthly meetings as part of the QLD Suicide Prevention Taskforce and assists with LEAG groups when asked to be involved.
“What does this mean for the patient” is his most asked question when attending Executive-type meetings with Health services.
“What can I do best to help” is the question he asks himself often.
He often looks back to see how much progress has been made in the Lived Experience arena, while he finds the summit ahead of him obscured with swirling snow.
As a grateful ambassador for Roses in the Ocean, Imbi is passionate about showcasing the challenges and supports that are needed both at an individual and family level for anyone facing suicidal crisis. She has both lived and living experience, as her family 8 years ago were catapulted into the mental health system in shocking and life altering circumstances. Imbi uses her story to shed light on the difficulties that her family faced – and more importantly her insights to give hope and courage to others.
In addition to working professionally in the aged care sector, Imbi provides support and advice to Lifeline in their Lived Experience Advisory Group, Mental Health Victoria and of course Roses in the Ocean, where she was trained and supported to find her voice, tell her story and never give up.
“Things must change and I want to help change”
Jon’s lived experience has given him an incredible drive and passion for reform within suicide prevention in WA, where he works tirelessly as an ambassador and peer support worker for various organisations in the sector.
Jon has extensive speaking experience both publicly and, in the media, (journals, radio and television). He has also worked in the political arena and was involved in the state election campaign Prevent, Support, Heal.
A true visionary, Jon has organised and run large events in his region, raising over $50,000.
This year, Jon was nominated for, and won, the Busselton community citizen of the year award.
Clare Headland has a lived experience of suicide. She was interrupted during her most recent suicide attempt, and has come to a deeper understanding of the mental and physical processes that tempt people to consider ending their lives.
Clare is a transsexual person, and has suffered all the horrors that a woman living in a male body must endure. She has overcome those hurdles, and now lives as a happy fulfilled woman, parent of seven children and six grandchildren. She was honoured as an inspiring woman by the Austin Hospital in 2019.
She takes every opportunity to speak as a suicide survivor with support groups, professional conventions, local clubs and associations.
James Gallacher is an engaging leader who brings exceptionally well-developed relationship-building, coaching, mentoring, facilitation and consultative skills to his role as Facilitator with Roses in the Ocean.
James has a passion for supporting people to break through with new ways of thinking and working, and an emphasis on building connectivity, confidence, positive self-concepts and awareness.
A youth focused speaker with a keen interest in community engagement, Julia moved into the NFP sector to utilise her lived experience of suicide attempts and bereavement in a positive and meaningful way.
She is a passionate suicide prevention advocate and is dedicated to amplifying the voice of lived experience of suicide from grassroots level upwards.
Julia is the Lived Experience Engagement and Co-Design Coordinator at Roses in the Ocean.
Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her two cats, gardening, listening to live music and getting stuck into a good book.
Tynan’s belief is that everyone can play a part in preventing suicide. He has a passion and gift for advocating and speaking on the topic of suicide and mental health. He strives for change and bringing them both out of the shadows and into the forefront of conversations which can ultimately give people the chance he was blessed with; more time to live and experience life.
Professionally he has spent the last 10 years working within the health sector in various roles delivering community development projects, advocating for reform within the public and private sector and delivering psycho-education sessions online and face-to-face. With tertiary qualifications in Social Work, Health Promotion and Counselling, he combines his lived experience of suicide with the knowledge acquired from his formal studies and world experience engaging with people from all walks of life.
Sam Phipps is a Roses in the Ocean Facilitator and the Peer CARE Companion Coordinator in WA. She is Chair of Roses in the Ocean’s Lived Experience Advisory Group and a Lived Experience Educator with Curtin University’s Valuing Lived Experience Project.
Sam loves to connect with people and is a passionate suicide prevention advocate who is dedicated to supporting people impacted by suicide within her community. She uses her experiences to drive systemic reform and hold compassionate, courageous conversations around mental health and suicide.
When Sam is not working in suicide prevention, she loves to read, grow flowers and spend her time connecting with family and friends.
David has been a passionate suicide prevention and postvention community advocate and educator, since the death of his 20-year-old son Guy to suicide in 2007 and is absolutely focused on ensuring the voice of lived experience is heard and valued.
Prior to the loss of Guy, David worked for more than 20 years in public service, including senior roles in the provision of social and community housing, emergency and crisis accommodation and in improving remote Indigenous environmental health.
Since 2009, David has volunteered and worked with a range of organisations across Australia, dedicated to preventing suicide and to supporting those impacted by suicide attempts or loss, including Lifeline WA, Livingworks Australia, Suicide Prevention Australia, Anglicare WA, ARBOR Suicide Bereavement Support, Roses in the Ocean and StandBy Suicide Bereavement Support Service.
David’s contributions to both suicide prevention and postvention were acknowledged in 2014, as a national finalist in the Suicide Prevention Australia LIFE Awards – recognising excellence in suicide prevention; and in 2019 as the Anglicare Australia National Volunteer of the Year, for his leadership and services to suicide bereavement support.
David remains dedicated to addressing the prevalence and impact of suicide and continues to serve as an accomplished public speaker, community educator and advocate for the voice of lived experience, in all aspects of suicide prevention and postvention. He currently works with his wife Susie as a Contracted Program Facilitator and Peer Mentor for Roses in the Ocean.
Currently working as a suicide prevention researcher and mental health advocate, Erin strongly believes that most people will step in and offer help if they see someone struggling — if only they knew HOW.
Erin also believes in the power of sharing stories, including her own personal lived experience with family, friends and kin, to help reduce the stigma around mental health and suicide, especially in male-dominated industries.
Having worked on the tools as a shotfirer and in health and safety on construction sites and coal mines in regional Queensland for almost 15 years, Erin lost far too many workmates to suicide.
In 2010, Erin became a volunteer suicide first aider with MATES in Construction and learnt how to connect people doing it tough or thinking about suicide with the help that they need. She later spent 5 years at MATES as a full-time Field Officer, teaching others in the construction, mining, and energy sectors how to do the same.
Tony comes from a varied background of work experiences from being an elected member of local government to chief executive roles within the tourism industry, which he had worked in since arriving in Australia from the UK in 1997. He also has experience in the Military and teaching sphere.
After going through his own lived experiences of suicide and suicide bereavement, Tony’s passion for suicide prevention and the health and wellbeing of all communities has led him to now work within the Roses in The Ocean team as Head of Community Led Safe Spaces.
19 September 2023 – Tony Martin’s Video | Wandoan AuxiliaryMental Health Awareness Event
I just thought I would email you to let you know we had a very successful Mental Health evening and Tony’s story was well received.
Wandoan has a population of around 400 and we had 60 – 70 attend and a lot of males which was fantastic.
Wandoan Health Auxiliary
Di has a lived experience of suicide and distress in the workplace. She has experienced the unrelenting pressure that comes from managing projects, running her own business, financial unpredictability, and raising her family solo.
For most of her career, Di worked in professional services as a Chartered Accountant, finance manager, management consultant, project manager and business analyst. She can relate to the pressure cooker environments of corporates, government and large not-for-profits and the impact that pressure can have on your wellbeing, relationships, and work. And the emotional distress that can lead to suicidality.
Several years ago, Di decided to step away from high-pressure projects and draw upon her lived experience to inspire leaders to create workplaces that are safe from psychological harm, prioritise wellbeing, and don’t cause their people distress that is completely avoidable.
In addition to her leadership and lived experience consultancy, Di is a staunch advocate for people with a lived experience of suicide at the regional, state, and national level, sitting on several steering committees, advisory groups and lived experience panels. Di also works with Roses in the Ocean as a lived experience mentor and readiness caller – supporting people on their journey to using their voice in suicide prevention.
Hope has a lived experience of suicide, having lost her father Frank in 2014 and her brother Andrew in 2021. She is passionate about sharing the story of her men to help others see the value of speaking up and reaching out, both for themselves if needed or for others to help. The best way Hope can honour her men is to help other families not live through this pain themselves.
Mark volunteers with Roses in the Ocean. He is part of their Mentoring Program, as well as undertaking readiness screening calls for their programs. He is also a speaker telling his story as well as a past Facilitator of their programs.
Mark sat on the Program Committee for SuperFriend as the Lived Experience representative. SuperFriend partners with superannuation funds and group life insurers (all profit to member) as a national mental health foundation focused on creating positive, healthy and safe working environments where every employee can be well and thrive.
Mark has a lived experience of suicide through the death of his partner 17 years ago as well as his own suicidality. This experience has shaped Mark’s desire to prevent as many people as he can from experiencing what he went through.
Mark presented his story at the National conference on Suicide Prevention Conference in Hobart in 2015.
Mark has formal qualifications in Risk and Business Management and is a qualified Internal Quality Systems Auditor. He has held senior management roles in a range of organisations spanning across different industries from Defence, Casinos, Federal/State and Local Government, Health and Hospitality.
Mark now runs a consultancy on Risk Governance and Assurance.
Salam! I am Rahim, an embodiment of my name which means merciful in Arabic. I am a relentless advocate for change and am determined to positively impact the world around me. I bring enthusiasm and energy to every endeavour I make, and I hope we can all work together to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all. I believe in the sanctity and value of life, and I do everything I can to improve people’s lives.
I am a Psychology graduate from QUT who utilises my lived experience and expertise of suicide and mental health to drive systemic change. I am actively involved with over 15 organisations via their advocacy and advisory groups locally in QLD and federally. Through these organisations, I devote my time to important issues such as mental health and suicidality, CALD representation, youth representation, refugee and disability rights, child and family safety, and youth justice. I am committed to enacting change by engaging with local parliament members, government departments, and other key stakeholders. I am constantly expanding my horizons through new perspectives on topics while adjusting my values and beliefs.
When I’m not advocating for change, you can find me indulging in my creative side by writing poetry, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, catching up on movies and TV shows, being active through sports, or being lazy by playing video games.
A Roses in the Ocean Speaker Engagement
Tynan Narywonczyk | ABB Australia | R U Ok? Day 2022