Lived experience

People with lived experience of suicide provide valuable insights into suicide prevention initiatives. The personal knowledge and understanding of their journey can guide prevention planning, approaches and education and contribute to improved care and enhanced safety to reduce suicide attempts and deaths. People with lived experience can provide hope and support to those at risk of suicide through deep understanding, shared experiences and strategies.

People with lived experience of suicide are those who have experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, supported a loved one through a suicidal crisis, or been bereaved by suicide.

Value and respect for the diversity of experience

The Indigenous experience

The lived and living experience of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people inherently differs to that of non-Indigenous people. Differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultures, such as how mental health concerns is conceptualised and perceived, intergenerational trauma and power imbalances play a role in shaping the Indigenous experience of suicide.

Lived experience recognises the effects of ongoing negative historical impacts and or specific events on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It encompasses the cultural, spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the individual, family or community.

Lived and living experience insight

Those with lived experience can contribute to and enhance community understanding of suicide and its impacts. They are strong advocates to include in all aspects of suicide prevention planning, design and delivery. Lived Experience helps reduce stigma and improve knowledge and understanding within the Australian public. It is important the unique insights of those with lived or living experience are recognised and valued in suicide prevention efforts.

Those with lived experience of suicide are involved in many suicide prevention activities, such as advisory groups, event speakers, research, policy, service design and delivery and as peer workers supporting others with suicidal thoughts or behaviours, and those bereaved through suicide.

"Suicide is as complex and unique as people. The underlying contributing factors to someone experiencing suicidal thoughts or crisis are vast. It is a tragedy that people experience such pain, a crisis of self, that the only option they feel is left to them is to end their own life. We all have a responsibility to reach in to others around us when we notice they have a lot going on in their life, when we get a sense that life is tough for them and offer the gift of listening deeply, validating what they are experiencing and walking alongside them as they work out what the best support and way forward for them is. People who support loved ones through suicidal crisis and after an attempt need our support to navigate the unknown and those bereaved through suicide need everyone to understand that their grief is complex and life long. People with lived experience of suicide are uniquely positioned to support others in emotional distress and crisis by connecting through the mutual understanding of shared experience."

Bronwen Edwards, CEO at Roses in the Ocean explains why it is so important that we prioritise supporting and giving voice to those with lived and living experience

In this section

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experiences of suicide

Report about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experiences of suicide.

Lived experience insight

Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM, Director of Everymind, invites Ingrid Ozols AM, Director of mh@work (mental health at work), to share her perspective on what the #YouCanTalk campaign means to her and how people can engage, support and connect with those who have a lived experience of suicide.