Please live – Suicide Survivors

Six young people talk about a friend they lost to suicide

Please live video


Black Dog Institute Panel Discussion: Towards best practice care for suicidal crisis in the Emergency Department

Live stream or Hospital Road Randwick NSW 2031

Wednesday, November 1, 2017   06:00 PM – 07:30 PM FREE – Choose to attend in person in Sydney or join the live stream – register online now



Integrated suicide-related crisis and follow-up care in Emergency Departments and other acute settings


1 hour

Program Outline

Evidence suggests that effective crisis and follow-up care in Emergency Departments and other acute care settings is key to reducing suicide rates. However, resourcing, capacity and available skill-mix create significant and ongoing barriers to successful implementation. Join our panel of researchers, clinicians and consumers as we explore optimal strategies for both regional and urban acute care settings and discuss how these strategies can be implemented within the current environment.

About the guidelines

Integrated suicide-related crisis and follow-up care in Emergency Departments and other acute settings are a series of recommended strategies and and an accompanying clinical implementation guide. These have been produced by the Black Dog Institute’s LifeSpan initiative in collaboration with leading clinicians and those with a lived experience of suicide attempt. The recommendations form a central part of one of the nine LifeSpan strategies that, when implemented simultaneously, could reduce suicide by up to 20% and suicide attempts by up to 30%.



Suitable for

LifeSpan trial site staff, emergency department health professionals, hospital managers and administrators, mental health nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, acute care psychologists

Topics Covered

  • Suicide prevention
  • Emergency Department policy and guidelines
  • Lived experience framework

Learning Objectives

  • Learn and share with other health professionals
  • Gain access to expertise, clinical knowledge and insights from our highly experienced panel

For help in Australia

CAPS: Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

LifeSpan strategies and components CRESP & Black Dog Institute

Lifespan is being trialed in 4 sites in NSW and 12 sites around Australia


Lifespan summary document

About lifespan

LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based strategies simultaneously within a localised area. This integrated systems approach is predicted to prevent 21% of suicide deaths, and 30% of suicide attempts.

The nine LifeSpan strategies

LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based strategies from population level to the individual, implemented simultaneously within a localised region. For successful delivery, all strategies require a thorough consultation and review process to ensure their relevance and tailoring to the local context and community.

Multiple strategies = more lives saved

Recognising that multiple strategies implemented at the same time are likely to generate bigger effects than just the sum of its parts (i.e., due to synergistic effects). LifeSpan offers a data driven, evidence-based approach, setting it apart from current practice and raising the bar in suicide prevention.










For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Strategy. 2016-20

A local government suicide prevention strategy in England

Warwickshire Suicide Prevention Strategy 2016-20

Our challenge

105 people died by suicide, confirmed by Coroner’s conclusions, in Warwickshire in 2013 and 2014. 51 people were killed in road accidents in Warwickshire in the same time period.

Suicide and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent was the leading cause of death for males in three age groups (5-19, 20-34, and 35-49 years) – above road accidents – in England and Wales in 2014.

Each of these deaths could potentially have been prevented.

Priority 1: Reducing the risk of suicide in key high risk groups

Priority 2: Tailor approaches to improve mental health in specific groups

Priority 3: Reduce access to the means of suicide

Priority 4: Reducing the impact of suicide

Priority 5: Supporting the media in delivering sensitive approaches to suicide and    suicidal behaviour

Priority 6: Improving data and evidence

Priority 7: Working together

The population group with the highest suicide rate in England and Warwickshire is middle aged men. Sometimes this is seen as a reluctance to ask for help but other factors may be higher rates of risk factors such as alcohol misuse, economic pressures unemployment/redundancy and debt. We need to reduce stigma around suicidal thinking and seeking help, encourage help seeking, and ensure that services are responsive and offer appropriate support. We will use evidence such as that produced in the Mens Health Forum document “How to make mental health services work for men and others to ensure services meet the needs of those most at risk.

For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday



“You Can’t Ask That” Series 2 Suicide Attempt Survivors


You Can’t Ask That asks suicide attempt survivors questions you may want to know the answers to. Brave people breaking the silence and the taboo around suicide, speaking publicly about a topic which affects too many people.


This episode was republished for World Mental Health Day and is available until 10:02pm on 6 Apr 2020. File size approx. 241 MB

For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

The 2nd Annual Narratives of Health & Wellbeing Research Conference 2017


Rise: A conference exploring resilience, writing and wellbeing

CQUniversity Noosa, Queensland, Australia
Pre-Conference Workshop Thursday 26th October 2017

Conference Friday 27th October 2017

Narratives of Health & Wellbeing Conference


In this, our second narratives of health and wellbeing conference, we showcase scholarly work reviewing, exploring, studying, deconstructing and reconstructing the concept of resilience – the positive adjustment to adversity. We explore the role narrative plays in conveying stories of resilience and how the act of writing and developing narrative may also build resilience. We may begin to question whether resilience is a personal, innate, or learned attribute; a social or cultural asset; or a buzzword that offloads social and workplace responsibilities onto individuals.

Delegates likely to benefit include researchers, scholars, advanced undergraduate, post-graduate and RHD students working in any area of narrative research, writing narrative production, nursing, midwifery, mental health, the creative and performing arts, education and the humanities.

Presenters at the conference will have the opportunity to submit to a scholarly publication.

This conference is an exciting opportunity for delegates to interact across a diverse range of interests. The conference program features a half day workshop that will provide delegates with hands-on learning and experience, an evening welcome function with a special private viewing of the CQU Noosa Arts Space Exhibition and featured floor talk, a full day conference event showcasing multiple speaker presentations and keynote address by Dr Kate Ames.

Conference Program – Thursday, October 26, 2017

 Conference Program

Time Session
12.30pm –


Registration and refreshments (for those delegates attending a workshop)
  Parallel Workshops
1.00pm –


Developing Narrative Writing Skills


Facilitator: Leanne Dodd Room: C.1.20


This introductory workshop is for those who have a story to tell, be it creative non-fiction or fiction, but who may be daunted by the idea of turning it into a full-length narrative work. We will develop a methodical approach to cultivating your story ideas and acquire a strong grasp of the fundamentals of narrative storytelling including rules, structure, plotting and characterisation. We will then engage in practical exercises to map and outline your work to get you started and discuss tips to keep you going. The workshop will not only benefit those setting out to write creative works for the first time, but also those who would like to refresh or further develop their skills.

Developing Academic Writing Skills


Facilitator: Professor Margaret McAllister Room: C.1.21


This workshop is for conference delegates who find it challenging to convert a conference paper into a scholarly

article. We will focus on the Journal of Narrative Inquiry, to assist each person to produce a compelling introduction that contributes to that journal’s conversation with its readers, a logical and persuasive body of the paper that conforms to the conventions appropriate to your topic, a conclusion that summarises and returns to the present, guiding readers to think about future practice. Finally, we produce an abstract that is succinct, innovative and intriguing.

  Welcome Function
5.00pm –


Welcome Drinks and Special Private Viewing of the Noosa Art Space Exhibition


This event is an opportunity for you to network with conference colleagues while viewing the latest Noosa Art Space Exhibition. There will be a formal welcome from the Conference Leaders and a featured floor talk by artist Lisa Brummel about the exhibition.

Conference Program – Friday, October 26, 2017

11.30 am see – Bronwen Edwards & Susanne Oliver Armstrong; The art of storytelling in suicide prevention: Building resilience in the storyteller and the audience

2.50 pm see me; Kerri Jackson; Words of wisdom from those who lived to tell the tale

Time Session


Registration and refreshments


Official Welcome and Opening Remarks – Professor Margaret McAllister


Welcome to Country

Lyndon Davis



Keynote: “I wish I didn’t have to tell this story”: A personal reflection on ghostwriting, family trauma, and moving on…


Dr Kate Ames, School of Education and the Arts, CQUniversity Australia


This keynote is sponsored by Caloundra Private Clinic



Networking Morning Tea


This morning tea is sponsored by Community Focus

  Parallel Sessions
  THEME 1: The cultural mosaic of resilience Chair: Donna Lee Brien Room: C.1.14 THEME 2: Individual, cultural and systemic resilience Chair: Margaret McAllister Room: C1.20 THEME 3: Application of resilience in practice Chair: Leanne Dodd Room: C1.21


Jennifer Perry & Shane Hopkinson

A room of our own: Exploring resilience through the prism of genealogical narratives

Irene Rogers

Developing community resilience: Lessons from 14th century Venice and the “black death”

Colleen Ryan Resilience and flow in clinical learning environments


Shelley Davidow Whisperings in the blood–a biographical memoir: Creating empathy and healing of multi- generational selves Naomi Sunderland

What does it take to make a change? Exploring resilience in storytellers and their allies for social change

Andrew Blythe

Outside In: Pushing the boundaries of experiential knowledge into mental health



Bronwen Edwards & Susanne Oliver Armstrong The art of storytelling in suicide prevention: Building resilience in the storyteller and the audience Nicki Cassimatis

Words to raise me up: Lessons in personal resilience, empowerment and purposeful recovery through poetry

Wendy Hawksworth Inside out: Challenging the limits of scientific knowledge in mental health


Kate Fitzgerald

When weeping is a crime: Writing the ‘wounded woman’ from a non- diagnostic perspective

Pam Blamey

Metaphor in Fairy Tales: the magic ingredient for building resilience

Lynda Hawlryluk Fostering resilience in creative writing student communities







Room: Student Common Room

This lunch is sponsored by Community Focus



Keynote: Exploring a critical-resilience narrative through an analysis of Paradise Road


Professor Margaret McAllister, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Sciences, CQUniversity Australia

Room: C.1.14


This keynote is sponsored by Caloundra Private Clinic

  Parallel Sessions
  THEME 4: Re-examining resilience through the lens of the health humanities Chair: Irene Rogers

Room: C.1.14

THEME 5: Transcending adversity


Chair: Jen Mulvogue Room: C1.20

THEME 6: Tools of change for resilience


Chair: Colleen Ryan Room: C1.21



Gail Crimmins

The healing power of self- talk and emotional resilience for mothers with rheumatoid arthritis

Gloria Sutherland Resilience of older women experiencing homelessness Laura Kenny

Learning to write/Writing to learn



Jenny Blagdon

Finding my voice in the GP’s waiting room: A narrative of empowerment and resilience

Ann Framp

Signs of hope and resilience for family members predisposed to hereditary stomach cancer

Leanne Dodd

Re-storying lives through creative writing



Toula Gordillo

Windows and mirrors: Young adult fantasy fiction to reframe and illuminate mental health messages for young adult readers

Kerri Jackson

Words of wisdom from those who lived to tell the tale

Heather Lovatt

“Thank you for letting me tell my story, I want to be heard.” Highlighting the positives of feminist interviewing with a vulnerable population



Susanne Oliver Armstrong Method writing: A creative methodology for enabling post-traumatic growth Joy Paton & Debbie Horsfall Learning to dance in the rain: Narratives of creativity and resilience in mental health recovery Jordan Williams & Tony Eaton

Flexible creative writing pedagogy for injured or ill employees: It’s all about the participants



Closing remarks and farewell followed by Networking Afternoon Tea Room: C.1.14

This afternoon tea is sponsored by Community Focus


Acknowledgements and thanks are given to:

  • Our sponsors Caloundra Private Clinic and Community Focus Association for providing funding to support this conference
  • Our Delegate Prize sponsor The Islander Noosa Resort –
  • Ms Zoe Allen, Campus Administrator
  • Ms Cathie Withyman, Research Fellow
  • Ms Melanie Durston, Research Worker
  • CQUniversity Australia, Noosa campus

Conference Details

Thursday 26th October 2017 –  1/2 Day Pre-conference Workshop & Networking Function

Friday 27th October 2017 – Full Day Conference

Location           CQUniversity, Noosa campus
90 Goodchap Street, Noosaville Qld 4566

Enquiries         Professor Margaret McAllister or +61 7 54407082

Registration     Pre-conference workshops:        $40

Conference:     Registration cost $120 (Concession $80)
Includes Welcome Function on Thursday evening


Conference Sponsors

We are pleased to acknowledge the support of our conference sponsors and thank them for their valuable contribution to this event.

Community Focus Association is a community based Mental Health Peer organisation. Engaging participants (consumers) as members of the community, productive valuable contributors.

Promoting community inclusion, such as social connectedness, respecting supportive relationships and positive productive environments. Proactively supporting freedom from discrimination and abuse. Encouraging and supporting active peer participation in the pursuit of wellness and recovery.

Caloundra Private Clinic provides comprehensive mental health services, treating patients with general and acute mental health disorders and providing inpatient, day program and outpatient services. The clinic is comprised of a 46 bed private inpatient mental health unit, offering treatment for a range of mental health conditions including anxiety and depression, mood disorders and post- traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and prescription drug management service.



Stories Matter Suicide Prevention Australia


Lived Experience Network October 2017 Newsletter

How to submit a story to SPA (to be shared on our Podcast channel)

SPA is seeking stories from you with the purpose of educating our communities and raising awareness of the diverse and complex contributors of suicide.
Your story may also be used to guide messages and policy recommendations.
We’ve developed guidelines to assist you as you prepare, compose and record your story.
Download the guidelines today and we look forward to working with you.
Visit SPA’s audioBoom page to hear stories that we have shared recently and we look forward to receiving your submission!

Ideas on developing your story

  1. Listen to a few stories that have already been shared before you start writing or recording. Every style will be different but it may spark some ideas—click here. You’ll also see that each storyteller has submitted an image to complement their story
  2. Give some thought to your Call To Action. What action do you want the listener to ‘do’ after they hear your story? For example, “Thanks for listening—now go to conversations to learn how to start the conversation” or “Thanks for listening—now go to communities to learn how you can start a Suicide Prevention Action Network”.
  1. Select one or two important parts of your story that, when shared, will have the greatest chance of making a difference in someone’s
  2. Write or type your story/transcript. (Some people find it useful to send the transcript to us for review and suggested edits before)

For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday Stories from people who survived a suicide attempt

What Happens Now?

Life after suicidal thinking. A project for the American Association of Suicidology. What’s your story?

Attempt Survivor’s stories

Thank you

This project is taking a break, likely for good. Thank you to the dozens of people around the world who have shared their stories and created a community around this long-neglected issue. You can still contact me here, especially if you’d like to “come out,” if you’re with the media or if you’d like to improve society’s responses to suicidal thinking. You can also reach out to the many wonderful people behind the projects on our Resources page.

A lot has happened in this project’s two years. We’ve made history by speaking up and pushing for recognition, accelerating a process that just a handful of brave people had started.

And yet, people continue to ask about suicidal thoughts and actions, “Why would you want to do that to yourself?” What a shocking and fundamental misunderstanding. The question, as with any potentially fatal health issue, should be, “Why is this happening to the people we love?”

People also ask what can be done to stop suicides. We can do this: Tell the world that suicidal thinking can happen to any of us, and that seeking help and support won’t result in punishment.

Our challenge is in making sure the second part of that statement is true.

One of those stories is ‘I survived, and he didn’t’


Not too long ago, Harry Miree sat down in front of a camera and opened his journal. It’s best to watch his video before reading further.

Harry was pleasantly surprised to learn about this growing movement of “out” attempt survivors. “It’s like the past seven years, this entire universe has been contained in my own head,” he said in a recent phone call. “It’s such a ‘don’t talk about it’ kind of thing. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The first experience I wrote about took place in 2007. I sort of went through a personal suicide journey, then spent a couple years finding my way out of those woods. I stabilized and have been living a totally different life. Then my cousin, who I had not been in close contact with lately, I found out he shot himself. I didn’t see that coming.

There I was, back at the exact same hospital, the same floor, same ward. I survived, and he didn’t. I saw the visitors’ side of that experience. Man, the room was just full of people asking the same questions, the classic questions from people who just want to understand: Did he say anything to you? Did you see the signs?

It occurred to me, this was the first moment in my life that my own experience could really be an eye-opener. A less obvious angle for people to consider, for thinking about the anguish that we shouldn’t take on our own shoulders. Because suicide is such a personal journey.

How are you doing? It’s only been a month.

My biggest concern was for the people who wanted answers. If this is what my cousin wanted, it makes me sad in a deeper way. I know in that moment it doesn’t seem like there’s any other way. That’s the nature of that moment. I was sad that there could have been a better way. He didn’t end up with the opportunity to see that.

But my immediate concern was for the people around him who were very confused about it, wanting to blame someone or something.

Personally, the only thing that freaked me out was that I wasn’t freaked out. But I spent a lot of time in this psychological territory. This was familiar in a lot of ways.

How did you go about speaking up? Did you start there in the hospital?

Yeah, there’s a human tendency for everybody to want to show up and say, “You know, my goldfish died one time, I know how you feel.” That’s unfair, but everyone is in a big hurry to share their views and wisdom. I wanted his family to not necessarily be inundated with a lot of platitudes. It’s not that it’s a total waste of time for people to say things that are comforting. In a dark way, you turn into a bit of a celebrity you don’t want to be when a kid dies, a brother dies. Everyone is vying for attention, saying how God will get you through this, a wide spectrum of beliefs.

Honestly, at the time it was most important for me to be quiet, be present. If someone was thirsty, to bring water. For people who hadn’t eaten in hours, to at least bring some bagels in there. You know what I mean? The presence, you’ve communicated enough by being there.

How have people responded to your message?

I asked my parents what they were thinking. My dad was especially confused, that my cousin had made some mistake, his brain was obscured by drugs or something. That was the moment I realized that “Wow, I might have a perspective to throw into people’s consciousness.” I didn’t really say it right then, but at the moment I realized that if I can deliver this message in a heartfelt way and not be forceful to anybody … It’s important not to get into anybody’s face and tell them how to think.

“Wow, people are really asking for someone to speak about this right now.” I went home and just rolled around in my room the next three days. It was a very private, quiet thing, my experience. Almost no one in my life knew it had happened. I’m sort of this happy-go-lucky guy, the last person people expect this to happen to.

It was important not to make any of this about me. And yet, I had a message I wanted to spread to people. And this absolutely was the time for this message to come out. My cousin’s not the only one. This stuff is happening everywhere. I thought it would maybe have some sort of ongoing relevance. This is really not a rare thing at all.

On one hand, this could bring some comfort to the family. On the other, this could be super-insulting and maybe damaging to my own reputation and my family’s reputation. Like you said, it’s a coming-out sort of thing. It changes the way people see you. I had a cognitive dissonance about that for a couple days.

The day I made that decision, it was clear as day to me. I think any message worth conveying, yeah, it’s gonna have those sharp edges. It won’t be something people pass over. We are gonna get an intense reaction. I think it’s the most important thing I could have done that day.

In that moment, I didn’t care what it would do to my reputation and my family’s reputation. It wasn’t add my issue, or even my cousin’s issue, but for humankind.

And you just sat down and did it?

That hospital, just being in that place, immediately triggered memories. It was sort of a two-step process. One, I dug up my journal and read it. Even reading it on its own, it was like a description of what it might have been like for my cousin if he had been conscious. And I was like, I really don’t have to say anything separately. I could just read what I wrote in 2007 and what I wrote in February, just say the exact words into the camera. Yeah, that’s all that happened.

I woke up Monday at 11 and put that out on Monday night. I was done shooting by 3. I chopped it together for no dead space. As you can tell now, it takes me forever to get my sentences out.

What really took a long time was seven years of dwelling on those experiences. And those three days of itching about it.

There are two really striking thoughts in the video, about wanting someone to notice what’s going on and then not wanting anyone to notice.

I think a lot of us, once we’re really committed … I think there are phases. As I said, I would hate to force anything. This whole thing is just sort of what it felt like for me, and if there are any parallels with what anyone else feels, great.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, there are two possible states of being in the suicidal mind. There’s one, like, where you’re thinking that way and don’t want to think that way and just want some kind of salvation, a person to rely on or something to hold on to. Then the second phase, locking in: “This is what I want.” It sort of becomes essential to the mission that you not imply what’s going on. If people had the idea that anybody was about to kill themselves, they would go to great lengths. I was afraid that if anyone found out they’ll put me in a straitjacket, a padded room, and give me drugs so I’m not me anymore. In a pretty horrible way, that means you’re really careful in that state about not leaving clues.

But yeah, I totally understand the sentiment. I don’t want to say it too dramatically, because I don’t feel suicidal at all these days, but I still, even to this day, know the feeling of not wanting to be in anybody’s way but really wishing that something about me would make someone ask, “Hey, what’s the deal with that?”

I know a lot of people have a hard time. Some things are just really hard. If you’re struggling, it’s hard to come to somebody else. That move feels like a bigger boulder than it is ultimately. But “Hey, can you stop everything you’re doing right now and talk to me?” That’s hard to do for someone struggling.

I remember the day. One of the last things I did was go to the house of a person who was pretty central in my life, hoping he would react in a way to do something to save my life. But the newspaper was up in his face. He knew it was me. He knew I was bringing something. I put it on the counter, but he was in his own place. “Thanks. You can put it on the counter.” I was like, “Man, there’s no connection here.” Then I went and took the pills.

I do feel a heightened sensitivity that every single human being we encounter, no matter how stoic they seem, they have feelings and are thinking something right then. Not everyone can access everyone all the time. Maybe what I like about thinking this way is, it doesn’t require political change or medical or psychiatric breakthroughs. It’s just something everyone can think about all the time and make a difference. On a level, anyone can be really hard to fully understand. We could just be constantly revolutionizing other people’s day by showing the desire to be in tune with how they’re feeling. It has an effect on how people are feeling. You throw it out and not get anything back sometimes.

It does a lot for me to shake someone’s hand or ask somebody what’s on their mind. I think people seem shocked by that sometimes. A lot of us are in a day-to-day grind where we’re designed to talk about the business or weather. I’m not saying do a psych intervention with everyone, but warmth goes a long way. The best thing you can do with people is interact with them and spread it around. I try to keep that with me all the time.

Who else are you?

I’m a touring drummer. I live in Nashville, where all country singers set up their home base. I’m on buses and airplanes and sometimes vans. That’s all I do every day. I wake up and play drums.

The video’s being seen by more people than you might have expected. Surely your family has seen it.

That was the whole debate with myself. The moment I decided, it wasn’t reluctantly. This is part of my identity. If anything, this gives who I am some significance other than being able to put a roof over my head and eating and sleeping. So yeah, I embrace that.

I did wonder, of course, my parents especially. They’re kind of well-to-do Southern culture, where it’s important to see and be seen at church every Sunday. I had respect at least for the notion that this is not what they would have wanted, but I think it just, the immediate response, it’s been though a number of concentric circles. First immediate friends, then my cousin’s family. and then it kind of spread to outer and outer circles.

At this point, people seeing it are people like yourself, who I’ve never met. You’re right, more than I could have imagined. But that makes me … a very fulfilling feeling, that it means something beyond my cousin’s family or friends. It seems to have meaning to a world full of people. Yeah, the sky’s the limit.

For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday



Advancing Peer Support in Suicide Prevention

Author: Jerry Reed, PhD, MSW, SPRC Project Director, Education Development Center, Inc March 08, 2013

In my thesis, “Words of wisdom from those who lived to tell the tale,” I state that experts in suicidology around the world such as Cutcliffe, Hjelmeland, and our own Suicide Prevention Australia were calling for qualitative research with people who have attempted suicide, or were bereaved by it. Here is one of the most eloquent….

“Peer support has long been recognized as important in prevention. Those bereaved by suicide loss – that is, the family and friends of people who have died by suicide – form an essential and active part of the suicide prevention community. It is difficult to think of a major suicide prevention organization or initiative that does not include persons bereaved by suicide. Those who have lost a loved one to suicide are reaching out and supporting one another in support groups as well as providing support and advocacy for suicide prevention.

The revised National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP) states that “peer support plays an important role in the treatment of mental and substance use disorders and holds a potential for helping those at risk for suicide.” The NSSP also points out that mental health consumers have come to be an important peer-support resource in recovery services. Peer support is not a substitute for mental health treatment, and we should not promote peer support to those who may not be ready to provide support to others. However, there is evidence that peer support can assist the recovery of those who have experienced suicidal crises, including attempts.

Many suicide attempt survivors have bravely shared their stories in support of suicide prevention and others who may be at risk. Yet the participation of suicide attempt survivors is not yet as overt or as organized as that of persons who have survived the loss of loved ones. However, this is starting to change. Two examples of efforts to provide forums for survivors of suicide attempts are Live Through This and What Happens Now? People who have survived suicide attempts have experienced reentering a workplace, classroom, or family after an attempt or hospitalization. They can address this experience with authenticity.

We should look to what is happening in the mental health community as a model for involving attempt survivors in suicide prevention. But attempt survivors can do more than support their peers. They can also help us understand what resources and supports are needed to assist attempt survivors in their journeys to recovery. The Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force of the National Action Alliance is creating a framework to help engage and empower suicide attempt survivors as suicide prevention champions at the local, state, and national levels. I look forward to the results of their labor.

We need to expand efforts to encourage and support attempt survivors in bringing their expertise to the struggle against suicide, and their firsthand experience with facing and triumphing over suicide to others at risk through peer support networks. And we need to continue and expand opportunities for members of a wide range of cultural and ethnic communities, as well as youth, veterans, and the LGBT community, to organize and provide support to their peers, as well as to share their ideas and experience to the field of suicide prevention. We all have a role to play in this effort.”

Postscript: After 9 years with the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre, Jerry Reed is passing the Director’s torch to Elly Stout. He is now a senior vice president for practice leadership within Education Development Centre. 


For help in Australia

Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Suicide Callback Service     1300 659 467

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out

Headspace      Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527         Phone & Chat  3 – 12.00 pm everyday