Establishing a suicide prevention community of practice

Objective 12.6:

Increase community knowledge about, and skills in, recognising and responding to suicidality

Action 12.6.4:

Increase opportunities for community members to be involved in suicide prevention efforts by safely sharing their lived experience

Summary of activity

Incorporating the voice of lived experience can provide the suicide prevention sector with a valuable opportunity to ensure the design and delivery of suicide prevention initiatives meets the needs of people affected by suicide.

Committed to embedding the voice of lived experience in suicide prevention initiatives, Brisbane North PHN funded Roses in the Ocean to lead the development of a Suicide Prevention Lived Experience Community of Practice.  Operating as the Community of Practice throughout 2018, the group officially renamed themselves as the Brisbane North Suicide Prevention Network in July 2019.

Key achievements

The Network has successfully implemented governance and operational processes including recruitment and training of members; the establishment of internal support and mentoring networks; the drafting of Terms of Reference; and the development of a name, identity and branding as the Brisbane North Suicide Prevention Network.

The Network has participated in multiple public events including World Suicide Prevention Day and Mental Health Week Expo and has collaborated on the development and implementation of several related initiatives including Zero Suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Trial and a communications campaign targeting people at risk of suicide and those caring for them.

Key learnings

Recruitment of a diverse range of people into a community of practice can be challenging and specific recruitment strategies are needed to ensure diversity of representation. Similarly, retention of members requires a specific and dedicated focus.

Gaining traction and maximising the role of the lived experience community of practice in the at-capacity health and suicide prevention sector has been challenging due to the commitments already faced by the workforce. Specialist strategies to increase engagement with the sector and establish the Network as a credible voice of lived experience that can inform the design and delivery of suicide prevention initiatives are required.

What’s next?

Priorities over the coming 12 months include a focus on expanding recruitment of a diverse range of people and provision of training and support to ensure capacity to fulfil their role; and the development of specific strategies to enhance member retention. In addition, opportunities to increase engagement with the health and suicide prevention sector will be nurtured with a view to raising awareness of the role of the community of practice and the value it can provide the sector.

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