our story

Our Foundations

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.  And yet, with all the medical, scientific and technological advances of the 21st century, we understand little of what causes such tragedy to occur or how to treat it.

Mark was one of a reported 2191 people in Australia who took his or her own lives in 2008.  Mark is the brother of ‘Roses in the Ocean’ Founder, Bronwen Edwards.

Bronwen and her family gathered at Mark’s favourite beach at his home in Coolum Beach, Australia, and placed roses in the ocean a couple of 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 it 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 exists to save lives and reduce emotional distress and pain.

We do this by innovating and transforming suicide prevention, and  driving and delivering system reform through the expertise of people with lived experience of suicide,  We support organisations and government to effectively and meaningfully engage and integrate lived experience expertise.

Our key focus is on:

  • Implementing innovative solutions co-designed with community to meet the needs of individuals and communities.
  • Developing & supporting the LE workforce and SP Peer Workforce while continuing to build capacity and sustainability in individuals and communities.
  • Driving reform towards a genuine ‘no wrong door’ approach by supporting all services to embrace lived experience of suicide informed practice.
  • Delivering high-quality, best practice capacity building training and service delivery, the impact of which is measured and reported on.
  • Walking the talk. Providing respected leadership in lived experience of suicide to individuals, the sector and government.
  • Building depth and sustainability into the lived experience of suicide movement, our organisation, individuals and communities, services, workforces and safe spaces.

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, provided a symbolic platform 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 preparedness to ask for help.
  • Acknowledgment of all the lives lost to suicide.
  • Demonstrative of your desire to play an active role in suicide prevention.

“My heart holds you just one beat away

the tears in my soul fall quietly every day

stay close, watch over me, from so many stars apart

roses in the ocean, you forever in my heart.”