By Jess Worner
Lived Experience Network Manager, National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA)
NSPA’s Lived Experience Network is striving to ensure that suicide prevention activity across the country is underpinned by the voices of people with lived experience, and that knowledge of those with lived experience is valued, respected and seen as legitimate.
By lived experience, we mean people who have experienced suicidal thoughts, people who have attempted suicide, people living with or in relationships with those with suicidal thoughts, and those bereaved by suicide.
You can find out more about NSPA’s Lived Experience Network on their website.
If you have a little time to spare, we would also really encourage you watch a video of three members of our Lived Experience Influencer group talking in depth about valuing lived experience in meaningful way
You can also view this video online: https://youtu.be/UrM8FKUsNCI.
Their key message is that we are more than “sad stories”: we have a lot to give and should be involved in decision making at all levels. They also highlight the importance of diversity when hearing the voices of people with lived experience.
Over the past year, NSPA Lived Experience Influencers have been involved in a whole range of activities. This has included speaking at events, conferences, and webinars; addressing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Suicide and Self Harm Prevention; working with academics to co-produce research proposals and designs; sitting on advisory and steering groups; joining meetings to inform the Government’s new Strategy; and joining and contributing to the work of the Suicide Prevention Consortium. They have also worked with the NSPA to develop and co-ordinate the World Suicide Prevention Day campaign, and many have shared their own reflections here on why creating hope through action is such a personal and dynamic concept in suicide prevention. Follow @NSPA_UK on Twitter to see more reflections as part of WSPD on September 10th.
A group of NSPA Influencers have also been working closely with STORM, as part of the training review.
“Working with NSPA Lived Experience Influencers has been invaluable. They bring a unique perspective that cannot be gleaned from academic work or professional practice. For example, they can tell us what it means to struggle with self-harm and suicide and what it feels like to receive care. The group have been integral in reinforcing messages of engagement with families and support networks, as well as working with diversity.”
CEO, STORM Skills Training
Members of our online Lived Experience Panel have also provided views and insights to inform conversations with civil servants and stakeholders about suicide prevention strategy, on a range of topics including online safety, workplace wellbeing, LGBTQ+ experiences of suicidality, and the government’s future 5 year Suicide Prevention Strategy.
We are so very grateful to STORM for all of the support they have provided to enable us to continue to move towards our aim of the voices of people with lived experience being embedded across all suicide prevention activity.