We remember those we have lost to suicide and we acknowledge the suffering that suicide brings when it touches our lives.
Our aim is to ensure that we provide for all people a future that inspires and empowers individuals and communities, and is filled with hope and meaning.
What does a Lived Experience of Suicide mean?
SPA defines Lived Experience as someone who has experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone who has attempted suicide, been bereaved by suicide, or having been touched by suicide in some other way.
Involving Lived Experience in the development of services, programs and research:
Suicide Prevention Australia's Lived Experience Network can be accessed when you are seeking input and advice from people with a lived experience of suicide. Call or write to see how the knowledge and wisdom of those with a lived experience of suicide can be engaged in the development of programs, services and research.
|Support Suicide Prevention Australia by making a tax-deductible donation.
To learn more about the Lived Experience Network visit the SPA website.
November / December 2016
Welcome to the November / December LEN Newsletter.
This edition offers information under distinct headlines - Learning Matters, Expertise Matters and Stories Matter.
Under Learning Matters you'll find listings of upcoming conferences, forums, and educational opportunities.
Under the Expertise Matters we let you know about opportunities where your wisdom and knowledge is needed in some way, perhaps by participating in a survey or research or attending a consultation.
Stories Matter is a place to share a lived experience story. We'll let you know how you can share your story in the January/February issue.
Before moving on to the rest of the newsletter we wanted to provide you with a list of some of the national (and international) weeks and days during November and December 2016 that may be of interest to you:
Thank you for being part of the Lived Experience Network
. The Network is growing day by day and the number of opportunities for you to get involved is also growing. If you know anyone who is not yet a member of the Lived Experience Network, we hope you'll encourage them to join
. It's free and the more members we have the greater and stronger the voice of lived experience becomes in the development of services, programs and policy. Join the Lived Experience Network
and be part of the change you want to see.
Manager, Lived Experience Network
Below are just a few of the learning opportunities that have been made known to SPA. You will notice numerous conferences that take place during 2017. These are listed so that you might consider if presenting.
- The Partners in Mining
was developed as a free group information and support program suitable for current, retrenched or retired miners, mining contractors, their partners, friends and family members in the Hunter region.
All States & Territories
- The Blue Knot Foundation
routinely offer courses on recognising and responding to vicarious trauma as well as for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse. Check their website
SA - Centacare & Partners in Depression
are offering a free six week group program that aims to address the information and support needs of those who live with or love someone experiencing depression.
- Darwin - Monday 7 November
- Alice Springs - Tuesday 8 November
- Adelaide - Monday 14 November
- Brisbane - Wednesday 16 November
- Townsville - Thursday 17 November
- Sydney - Tuesday 22 November
- Melbourne - Wednesday 23 November
- Perth - Friday 25 November
- Hobart - Wednesday 30 November
- Canberra - Friday 2 December.
(Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)
, 8 November, Woolloomooloo NSW
National Suicide Prevention Conference, 23 - 26 July 2017, Brisbane QLD
Have you identified your Primary Health Network?
The Australian Department of Health have established Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
with the key objectives of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients, particularly those at risk of poor health outcomes, and improving coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Each PHN are actively developing their suicide prevention and mental health plans and activities and they need to hear from you and your community.
If you don't yet know your PHN use the map locator
and then visit your PHNs website where you'll find information about services and professional development and possibly opportunities to contribute to surveys or attend community forums.
Your PHN is an ideal way for you to find learning opportunities or ways to get involved in your local area.
For example, those living in South Australia, the Country SA PHN are seeking your input on e-mental health resources
or check out the training calendar
The PHNs right across Australia are a great way for communities to find out what is happening for suicide prevention (including educational opportunities) and mental health.
Free Suicide Prevention Workshops for Mental Health Workers in Melbourne
SPA Member organisation, SANE Australia
, will be offering suicide
prevention training in Melbourne during November and December. Building on their Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide, this is a 6-hour workshop encouraging health professionals to reflect on their role in suicide prevention.
The interactive program explores recovery principles and unpacks obstacles many health professions experience.
Who should attend?
Mental health workers: case-workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, counsellors, peer-workers, social workers, youth workers and students.
Free of charge for people working or studying within the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network or South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network catchments. (Note: You do not have to work for a PHN - if you work or study in their catchment area you are eligible)
Full registration is $385 per person (including GST).
Visit the SANE website
to learn more about the training and to register.
Queensland Mental Health Commission hosting community consultations for culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
The Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) has appointed Health Outcomes International (HOI) to undertake a review of suicide prevention training and resources to support people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The aim of this project is to identify existing high-quality resources, information or service gaps and barriers to accessing mental health and suicide prevention support and information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
A critical step of the review is to conduct consultations with key stakeholders in Queensland, both via face to face and telephone. Consultations are designed to:
- help us identify and inform our mapping of suitable suicide prevention training and resources for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
- identify gaps in training and resources and how to address these, and;
- consider current issues impacting on the provision and delivery of suicide prevention training and resources available to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
We invite and encourage interested stakeholders to attend one of the upcoming face-to-face consultations (each of approximately 1.5 hrs) being conducted in your local area:
· Monday, 14 November 2016, 10.00am (BRISBANE)
Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre, 519 Kessels Road, MacGregor, (conference room 1)
Target groups: Bilingual mental health workers
· Monday, 14 November 2016, 1.30pm (BRISBANE), Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre, 519 Kessels Road, MacGregor, (conference room 1)
Target groups: Multicultural mental health coordinators and community representatives from refugee and asylum seeker communities
· Tuesday 15 November 2016, 10.00am (LOGAN CITY), Gould Adams Community Hall, 558 Kingston Rd, Kingston QLD 4131
Target groups: Multicultural mental health workers and community representatives from Pacific Islander, refugee and asylum seeker communities
· Wednesday 16 November 2016, 2.00pm (TOOWOOMBA), MDA Ltd, 166A Hume Street, East Toowoomba QLD 4350
Target groups: Multicultural mental health workers and community representatives from African refugee and other migrant groups
· Thursday 17 November 2016, 10am (CAIRNS), Northern Queensland Primary Health Network, Level 2, 36 Shields Street, Cairns City, QLD 4870
Target groups: Multicultural mental health workers and community representatives from Asylum Seeker, refugee, Pacific Islander and Older Europeans communities and people who identify as LGBTI from a culturally and linguistically diverse background
· Friday 18 November 2016, 10am (GOLD COAST), FSG Australia, 20 Railway Street, SouthPort QLD 4215, (Studio 2 upstairs)
Target groups: Multicultural mental health workers and older community representatives from European backgrounds & carers
to provide Suicide Prevention Australia with a little more information about yourself and to receive the RSVP details.
Embracing life after loss
by Julia Wyhes
The minute the mining company called and asked her to come home, Diane Gillett knew her husband Ken was gone.
It was 2001 and Diane and Ken, and their three children, then teenagers, had moved from Parkes to Brisbane. Diane worked in real estate, and Ken was an electrician in the mines, set to work week-on, week-off in Cloncurry, North Queensland.
The couple had been married for 20 years and began their family in Goulburn, but they made the move from their base at Parkes to Brisbane for their children to pursue their love of sports. "We wanted them to have more opportunities," Diane said. She had been in her new job for two weeks and had spoken to Ken the night before, but then on Valentine's Day, the phone rang. It was the mining company Ken worked for. "They asked me if I could come home. I said, 'He has died, hasn't he'," she said.
A colleague drove Diane home, and members of the mining company met her there, and were organising members of her family to be flown up from NSW. It was then Diane found out Ken had taken his own life.
Diane said the strangest part was there were no signs. She said Ken had seemed completely normal, right down to his handwriting on his tag at the mine before he took his life.
Diane told her eldest son how Ken had died but decided to tell the younger two the following morning when she had the support of her family. She said the most uplifting part was the support offered by people around her, not just family and friends but total strangers. "There was a truly amazing policeman. He was an amazing guy," she said. She said there was an elderly man across the road who used to come over to her house and have a cup of coffee on the porch and help out with repairs and gardening. "You can think you are not part of a community, but people step up," she said.
In July, Diane and the children moved to Wagga Wagg. "I chose it for sporting reasons again. I needed the children to move into something normal," she said.
Diane said she remembered being really resilient. "I was controlled. I didn't show my emotion," she said. "I was trying not to upset anyone else." After about 18 months, she decided she needed some counselling, which continued for six months. Despite the massive loss, Diane showed an amazing spirit and found ways to cope.
She had always been keen on natural therapies, and took an interest in kinesiology. She also became a counsellor Lifeline. "It was very therapeutic for me," she said. It put things in perspective for me. I learned about self-care. It was confronting but very therapeutic."
"I came to realise it was Ken's death, not mine. I decided I needed to live, not just be alive." And living life she is. Diane has plunged into enjoying fitness and the outdoors. With a group of friends, Diane has ventured on many walking adventures, including completing the Kokoda Track, and the Milford and Routeburn tracks in New Zealand. She said walking the Kokoda Track was an uplifting experience. "You were in your own world. And you felt gratitude for what we have," she said. She has just returned from a 16-day hike along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory.
"Trekking is so good for your mind, body and soul," she said.
Diane became a reiki master, read self-help books and listened to guided meditations. Becoming a speaker for Suicide Prevention Australia Lived Experience Bureau has not only been rewarding for her, but allows her to share her experience. Diane wants to raise awareness of suicide and bring communities together in the prevention of suicide.
She said it was hard to allow herself to feel and show her emotions, but talking to the right people helped. "It is OK to grieve, but don't stay there too long. Grief has many stages, however, it's also OK to be happy," she said. "Find something that made you happy before the loss and grief and reconnect with it."
Diane said she sees more of a resemblance of Ken in her children every year. "Ken will be a part of my life forever," she said. Diane said the experience changed the way she looks at life. "Ken's death has sent me on a different journey. It made me a more compassionate person. I was more controlled before," she said. "Being grateful for what you have got, not what you haven't." "It's a long time to be sad. You may as well live a happy and fulfilling life rather than just being alive."
How Diane services her mind:
How Diane services her mind:
Be grateful for what you have, not what you haven't.
Read helpful books.
Volunteer and make time to help others.
Do the things you enjoy.
Get plenty of outdoor exercise.
Coping with Grief
Grief can occur in response to many different situations. It is normal, and everyone grieves differently. People experiencing grief may show signs that they aren't travelling well, such as changes in mood, feelings of hopelessness, social withdrawal and changes in their behaviour.
Grief can become a problem if these reactions begin to interfere with the person's ability to function in their everyday life.
If you're grieving, it's important to:
- Accept that grief is OK
- Talk through things if you feel you need to
- Take your time
- Don't make any hasty decisions
- Accept support
- Do things you enjoy
- Look after yourself; try to sleep, eat well and get some exercise.
Secure a Speaker for Your Event
The Suicide Prevention Australia Lived Experience Speakers Bureau has speakers trained and ready to accept speaking engagements in most capital cities (i.e., Melbourne, Cairns, Brisbane, etc.) and some regional areas.