I’ve got a new perspective on suicide. I nabbed it from the National Suicide Prevention Conference. I reckon you’ll like it too. So the reality is that for some people suicide becomes a solution. It becomes a ‘way out’, an escape and end to intolerable pain. It holds a kind of morbid promise when our dreams reduce to dust. So if suicide has become a popular solution – and let’s face it, with 2-3 high school aged people completing a suicide attempt each week, it is a growing trend – then why not focus on the problems that lead to suicide as the perceived solution in the first place? Why aren’t we connecting the dots of how our social, cultural, spiritual and psychological challenges pressure us to the core of our being? Fortunately, problem-solving junkies have come to the rescue.
Reporting back from the wild west of Perth where I had the privilege of presenting as The Babyfacedassassin at this inspiring conference, I have returned feeling rejuvenated and ready for action! Who would have thought that this topic that many people flee a mile from, would have opened my heart so wide and set my spirit on a course of passionate desire to make a new kind of difference. No, no, I’m not talking new books, workshops, bells and whistles, a babyfaced revolution – I’m talking firming up my small efforts to offer more empathy to my neighbour, my boss, to grass roots wellbeing, to Bob the builder. The main take-home message from the conference was nothing fancy or epiphanic – stay connected peeps, we all have a right to belong; to be held.
If you could meet the people, hear the collaboration, feel the compassion and sense that, ‘YES, we are developing services to meet the needs of our nation’s suffering,’ then you too would light up with optimism as we work towards Suicide Prevention Australia’s vision for a world without suicide. What’s most groundbreaking and of high importance for Australia, is we now have a Lived Experience Committee (lived experience includes people bereaved by suicide, attempt survivors, carers for people who are suicidal and any individual touched by suicide) so you can be rest-assured that policy, practice and prevention is steered in the hands of the wise. I was a sobbing fan as each committee member launched the Guiding Principles for Inclusion of Lived Experience Voices in Suicide Preventionon the final day. A holy moment, it was as though a constellation of s/heros who have traversed the depths were united through one answered calling. They spoke of courage, empathy, leadership, diversity, partnership and solidarity. They spoke with the clarity and punch that only the ‘lived experience’ can bring. Watch this space!
Without further adieu I would like to share with you my presentation, The Suicide Midwife: Regeneration after attempted suicide, with the hope that my recovery brings insight and hope to the said journey. Watch the above video for the complete presentation.
I have since been encouraged to upload the 5 Principles of Regeneration I suggest for people to incorporate into their lives after an attempt, and will make this available in detail through this website in the coming weeks. From my presentation I received encouraging feedback about my book and my perspectives, I made new friends and colleagues, and I am excited about how this opportunity will shape my mental health activism further. On a personal note, it solidified recognition of my own healing process. In short, I am confident I am no longer harrowed by suicidality.
On an inspired note of another creative kind, if you feel drawn to be part of the movement in growing awareness and support for suicide prevention and you live in Melbourne, the upcoming SistersforSisters event: Brothers in Arms on Sunday 16th August at The Toft, is dedicated to men in the community who have been affected by suicide, as well as an opportunity for us to acknowledge the precious lives that have been lost to suicide. The SistersforSisters creative activist projects are highly regarded for their showcasing of quality artists and musicians in the name of a worthy cause, usually for marginalised female communities, so this is a special event in response to our brotherhood, not to be missed! And I look forward to speaking on the night to share beaking news from the suicide prevention sector.
For more practical assistance about suicide or educational resources read my recent blog: Suicide prevention: Be educated, be prepared, be pro-active.
Advocate of the Heart and Soul in Mental Health Care