It is common for people with a lived experience of suicide to experience heightened emotions surrounding their lived experience of bereavement, their own suicidality or being a carer, at times of hardship, uncertainty and challenge. It is not surprising therefore that the past twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges within our communities. The SIG: Lived Experience has endeavoured to stay connected throughout these challenging times as everyone works tirelessly to support others through their work in suicide prevention.
Throughout the year we sadly said farewell to Chris Caulkins from the co-chair role. Thankfully Chris remains a member of our SIG; and we were fortunate to be able to welcome Dr Karolina Krysinska into the role of co-chair. Martina McGrath also joined us as an Early Career Researcher and is looking forward to working closely with Karolina specifically in the research Taskforce areas.
Two Taskforce focus areas for our SIG have strived to create a global picture of activity in the area of lived experience of suicide through two avenues – 1) research and 2) lived experience initiatives and projects. Members of the SIG have been contributing by providing an overview of work in their countries. This work will continue and aims to provide an ever-growing resource for IASP and other national or regional organisations. We welcome any further contributions from all IASP members!
The main focus now for the SIG: Lived Experience is to connect with all other SIG Chairs to invite them to utilise our lived experience expertise in their upcoming projects and to collaboratively explore ways to integrate people with a lived experience into their work.
It was fabulous to see the importance placed on integrating people with a lived experience of suicide into national suicide prevention activity in the recently released World Health Organisation’s LIVE LIFE Guide. Whilst the uptake of lived experience varies across the world, there definitely appears to be an increasing number of countries embracing this very valuable and unique expertise.
We encourage SIG members to engage regularly with other members through our Facebook page, and to keep us all informed of each others work – there is so much to learn and share.