Life in Mind recognises the important role of lived and living experience in suicide prevention.
In June 2018 the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention (CBPATSISP) facilitated a workshop to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experiences of suicide.
A key aim of the workshop was to examine the need for a specific Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experience definition and network. The workshop showed that the lived experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is different to others.
Participants described experiences of grief and loss, both of loved ones and of country and culture. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experience is contextualised within a history of colonisation that has resulted in disadvantage, racism, lack of acknowledgement of cultural differences and exclusion. A need for the provision of culturally appropriate services and responses to Indigenous suicide prevention that prioritises Indigenous understandings and practices of well-being and healing, particularly in relation to suicide prevention was identified.
All participants highlighted the strengths resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups must be acknowledged within the suicide prevention space.
Throughout 2020, the Black Dog Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre engaged a wide range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experience representatives in a co-design process to develop a working definition of Indigenous Lived Experience.
Definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience
A 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.
People with lived or living experience of suicide are those who have experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone through a suicidal crisis, been bereaved by suicide or having a loved one who has died by suicide, acknowledging that this experience is significantly different and takes into consideration Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ways of understanding social and emotional wellbeing.