Until recently, the prevailing focus on research and clinical expertise too frequently failed to see the person at the centre of a crisis as well as their loved ones who ride the tsunami effect of suicidal behaviour. This needed to change and with urgency.
It is encouraging to witness recent acknowledgement that the health system often fails to meet the needs of thousands of individuals in suicidal crisis and that health systems reform, whilst underway, will take significant time.
We cannot continue telling people to seek help while knowing much of the support available through the health system is under stress, difficult to access, of highly variable quality, and frequently inappropriate for recovery from suicide crisis.
Furthermore, we hear a consistent message from people who have lived through suicidal crisis that non-clinical environments and services staffed with a combination of peers and community support workers, where they feel safe, supported and genuinely understood, would best promote recovery.
A new and innovative approach is required to stem the tide of suicide: the significant change resulting in those with lived experience being more widely viewed as experts when designing, developing, implementing and evaluating suicide prevention activities, is a game changer.
The Lived Experience approach to suicide prevention
People with a lived experience of suicide bring insight, wisdom and perspective that is critical to informing the best approaches to reducing emotional distress and pain and saving lives.
People with a lived experience of suicide have the potential, once enabled with training and support, to facilitate impactful local suicide prevention solutions that drive positive change in stigmatising attitudes and culture and contribute to healthy and sustainable communities.
People with the lived experience acknowledge that many other lives are impacted by suicide and collectively we all can make a difference to reduce suicide in Australia.
Roses in the Ocean engages and empowers people with a lived experience of suicide to change the way suicide is spoken about, understood and prevented.
Lived experience of suicide is embedded in all levels of our organisation from our Board of Directors to our Advisory Committee and Volunteer Management Committee.