Suicide Prevention Australia’s Lived Experience Policy Advisory Committee Flick Grey, member Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA): some background History: began in 1992 as a voice for small number of individuals and organisations committed to suicide prevention and bereavement support Today is the national peak body for the suicide prevention sector; broad based Vision: “a world without suicide” Mission: “to make suicide prevention everybody’s business” 3 of SPA’s 9 principles for suicide prevention 1. 2. 3. “Suicide and suicidal behaviour arise from complex social, situational, biological and other individual causes …” “Suicide prevention is ‘everyone’s business’ …” “The first person voices of those with lived experience of suicide are crucial to increasing understanding of suicide and effective suicide prevention responses.” The case for a Lived Experience committee “The experience, knowledge and expertise of people with lived experience of suicide has the capacity to inform and generate improved policy, service delivery and outcomes for suicide prevention across Australia. Principles underlying this include: ◦ The right of people who are impacted by policy to have input into its design; ◦ The value to policy and practice of the unique knowledge and perspectives of people who have life experiences.” Selection process Lived experience of suicide, self-defined, including but is not limited to: ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Those who have survived a suicide attempt Those who have previously been suicidal Those who have self-harmed Those who have been bereaved by suicide Those who have cared for a suicidal person Those who have been personally impacted by the suicide or attempted suicide of another. Self-nominated Selection: by SPA and an independent adjudicator, “according to their knowledge, willingness and ability to contribute to the objectives of the committee.” Snapshot of members 110+ applications, 11 members selected Includes people who have themselves attempted suicide; people bereaved by suicide of loved ones and carers of people who have been suicidal (many of us are in multiple positions!) Ages range from early 20s to “old” Geographically dispersed People who have set up NGOs, who work or volunteer in the sector, have management backgrounds, psych training, and many who don’t Diverse but not “representative” My own positionality Resource Co-ordinator at Our Consumer Place (OCP) – working with Merinda Epstein ◦ a resource centre run entirely by people with a lived experience of ‘mental illness’ (consumers) ◦ critical value of lived experience and consumer leadership ◦ Expert Reference Group on Borderline Personality Disorder Multiple suicide attempts & chronic suicidality Volunteer Lifeline TCS Bereaved by a close friend who suicided last year The function and role of the committee Diversity of expertise, rather than “representative” Well-resourced: ◦ both in terms of expertise and passion from the group ◦ and the capacity of SPA to provide support Two-way initiative: ◦ issues and opportunities to be identified by SPA ◦ or by committee members, ◦ for the attention of SPA or the committee Our own meetings + reviewing SPA materials + speaking on behalf of SPA + providing advice to partner organisations No remuneration, but reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses Our first meeting Introduced ourselves Meeting bi-monthly: initially 3 monthly Discussion topics: ◦ Name and scope of the committee ◦ Missing perspectives and how to address (“representation”) ◦ Upcoming networking opportunities for us to network with each other ◦ Suicide/self-harm: discussed complex relationship between suicide and self-harm Where to from here? Energy and scope for more than minimal participation (original conception of quarterly meetings) Evolution expected: objectives kept broad so that the committee can evolve … Our future is unknown!