IASP APAC highlights lived experience research

Posted 25th May 2022 in Sector news Research news

The IASP 10th Asia Pacific Conference, held on the Gold Coast from 3-5 May 2022, showcased a number of suicide prevention initiatives and research with a key focus on lived experience.

Throughout the opening plenaries, Bronwen Edwards, CEO at Roses in the Ocean, expressed that she was ‘pleased’ that it is now universally acknowledged that people with a lived experience of suicide are key to suicide prevention efforts. The conference presented many examples of how those working in suicide prevention, including research, can utilise the voice of lived experience to positively impact their work.

StandBy and the vital role of lived and living experience in postvention

Jo Langford, StandBy's National Lived Experience Coordinator, and Jon Eddy, Standby Peer Support Worker, explained how leading postvention support provider, StandBy has incorporated lived experience into its postvention practices through lived experience peer support workers. Those bereaved by suicide described that lived experience peer support workers have the ability to connect with those bereaved and provide support from their own experience, which for some individuals may be more effective than counselling sessions alone. However, many lived experience representatives need to step back into the moment of their trauma to share their insight. Therefore, trauma-informed approaches to support lived experience workers is crucial.

Lived Experience of Suicide Informed and Inclusive Culture Change

Bronwen Edwards presented the Roses in the Ocean Lived Experience of Suicide Informed and Inclusive Culture Change suite of resources. The resources are designed to guide service providers, organisations and government to engage, integrate and partner with people with lived experience. The resources are available online and through the launch webinar.

“[Lived experience] involvement really helps us to design the best research”

Karoline Krysinska, Senior Research Fellow - Suicide Prevention from the University of Melbourne spoke on the benefits of involving those with lived experience in suicide research. Whilst there are known benefits to co-design in suicide prevention, no empirical data exists to inform the process. Ms Krysinska presented the thematic analysis of interviews with 36 researchers and people with lived experience. A key theme was the importance of broader academia and funding bodies supporting co-design.

"The forces of funding agencies, it just really needs to change. There needs to be money upfront for co-planning, because if we can't talk to people with lived experience, then it's cut out already at the beginning."

Suicide research interview participant

Guidelines from this study will be published by the end of 2022 and the authors are pursuing journal publication.

Lived experience peer engagement at Gold Coast Health's new Yalburro angabah Crisis Stabilisation Unit

Advanced Peer Workers, Andrew Namestnik and Robena Farrell spoke about the critical nature of peer engagement for effective suicide prevention and crisis interventions at Gold Coast Health's new Yalburro angabah Crisis Stabilisation Unit. This service is a peer-first, peer-last unit where Lived Experience Advanced Peer Workers are there to support people from admission, throughout their visit and up to discharge or transfer. Mr Namestnik shared his lived experience, reflecting on how things could have been different if a peer worker had been present. Ms Farrell also discussed her story of presenting to the emergency department in suicidal crisis and how this new service may have led to a more positive outcome.

Organisational engagement with lived experience: the Lifeline example

Tara Hunt, Research and Engagement Manager at Lifeline Australia, and Hayley Purdon, Lifeline Lived Experience Advisory Group (LLEAG) member discussed organisational engagement with people with lived and living experiences of suicide through the LLEAG. They presented data collected in their yearly check-in, with the key finding that the experience of being in the LLEAG has evolved. Ms Hunt also discussed the importance of establishing boundaries by clarifying the roles and expectations.

"Clear aims, objectives, and expectations of our role and contribution can always be tweaked. Feedback of where and how our input was/wasn't used was great; to continue with this is most satisfying."

Participant from the LLEAG 2020 Pulse Check survey
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