Projects » Lived Experience Committee
Suicide Prevention Australia is pleased to announce Australia’s first Lived Experience Committee.
The Committee will assist Suicide Prevention Australia in its mission of increasing the quality, efficacy and reach of suicide prevention initiatives across Australia.
The experience, knowledge and expertise of people with lived experience has the capacity to inform and generate improved policy, service delivery and outcomes for suicide prevention across Australia.
Activities of the committee will include
- Attendance and participate in a quarterly teleconference meeting
- Review of Suicide Prevention Australia materials, including position statements.
- Attendance at events/conferences/meetings with Suicide Prevention Australia as bursary funds allow and when members available.
- Speaking on behalf of Suicide Prevention Australia and/or the Committee at appropriate occasions.
- Providing advice to partner organisations and stakeholders as opportunities arise.
- Membership on reference groups or sub committees.
Click here to see a presentation that was delivered at the Suicide & Self-harm Conference 2012 in Cairns this year.
John has had a life long active interest in supporting families dealing with alcohol addictions. He is an active participant in mutual support self-help and community groups. He was widowed in 1996, when wife his Margaret died from the effects of alcoholism. He is also a bereaved father of Heather (26) who died by suicide in December 2005 and the proud father of two surviving children, Fiona 34 and Alexander 30. He is a retired locomotive driver with over 44 years service as a Victorian railwayman. He has also had involvement with various suicide related projects as well as being actively involved with The Compassionate Friends as a support group facilitator, Board member and is currently President of The Compassionate Friends Victoria.
Robyn has attempted suicide in the past and has been bereaved by suicide. Robyn is an Indigenous Australian and is a delegate to Engadine Evening VIEW (Voice, Interests and Education of Women)
“If any information I can give can be of interest to others and helps prevent a life in some way then it will be worthwhile.”
Jennifer has Lived experience with a son who has schizoaffective disorder, who has self harmed been suicidal. She is also a carer representative to on an assessment panel for a Beyondblue research program.
“I am optimistic about our futures, recognising that much progress has been made in demystifying this issue which can only be considered a good thing. I believe that both my personal and professional experience will bring value to the Advisory Committee.“
Mic has own experiences of suicide attempts and is bereaved by suicide. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Southern Cross University titled Different Voice, Different Perspective: a Visual Arts Enquiry into Understanding Suicide Through Original Voice Narratives. He has worked as an Adventure Based Therapist in Drug, Alcohol and Correctional services.
Bronwen Edwards lives in Brisbane with her husband and two children. She lost her brother to suicide in 2008 after he struggled with mental illness for just under a decade.
She is the Founder of ‘Roses in the Ocean’, a not for profit organisation with the primary focus of raising awareness in our communities of the prevalence of suicide. ‘Roses in the Ocean’ is a signature event for Suicide that runs between between August 31st and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th every year. Funds raised through national and international participation are used to support organisations providing hands on suicide prevention and intervention services in the community.
Bronwen is also a joint owner of ‘What a life”, a Personal Training and Life Coaching business in Brisbane.
Adam’s motivation to positively and proactively address the issue of suicide and self-harm within the community has been informed by a lived experience of suicide. For a number of years, he has been an active participant in various not-for-profit bodies that raise awareness of and encourage mental health. Drawing on these experiences, Adam’s subsequent initiatives have focused on:
- De-stigmatising the issue to encourage meaningful conversation;
- the preventative measures of early intervention; and
- utilisation of both formal and informal support networks.
His studies at University and employment in the Australian Public Service have provided Adam with an appreciation for the development and implementation of effective policy. Adam’s personal interests include music, travel, history and rugby.
Gail has lived experience from a suicide attempt in 2009 and she also has lost friends to suicide. She is the youngest member of the Committee at 22 years of age. Gail volunteers with Reachout/ Inspire and has represented NSW CAG. She is in the final year of a Bachelor degree in Psychology.
“I am very well experienced in balancing my health, studies, work, relationships and volunteering commitments and am self aware and able to recognise my limits. I have extensive experience in presenting to both community and professional groups, which I feel would be of huge benefit in raising community awareness of suicide and self harm as per Suicide Prevention Australia’s aims regarding increasing public education and understanding of mental illness.”
Hayley identifies as a suicide survivor having attempted to take her life in 2007. She is studying a B. Science (Psychology) and completeing a Cert IV in crisis support counselling with Lifeline. She is employed as a disability support worker, and has experience in basic advocacy and interest group representation.
“I have valuable insight as someone who has lived through suicide and self harm and with retrospect, I can see what might have assisted me before I reached crisis point. Some of these ideas include more support during high school, better education for parents and family, breakdown of the social stigma of suicidal thoughts and self harm and better support after finishing school and in the workplace.”
Sarah lost her son to suicide in 2010. She has a Masters in Public Health and is a health researcher by profession. She volunteers and makes contributions to several mental health and bereavement services.
“He was not diagnosed with mental illness and I am particularly interested in policies that raise awareness of the levels of mental illness in teens/young adults and the fact that this is a key time of first presentation of mental issues.”