Authors: Kath Thorburn, Scarlett Franks
Event: 2023 TheMHS Forum
Subject: Alternatives to Suicide in NSW - Learnings through an alternate approach to the experience of suicide
Type of resource: Video
Abstract: Alternatives to Suicide is a peer-to-peer practice based around mutual support groups that provide a space for voicing, sitting with, understanding and moving through suicidal thoughts, that was developed by the Wildflower Alliance, USA. A key tenet of Alternatives to Suicide (Alt2Su) is that people have space to talk about suicidal experiences and other forms of emotional distress without fear of being put through a crisis management system. In late 2020, inside out & associates undertook the coordination of Alt2Su in NSW with short term (establishment) funding from the NSW Ministry of Health. The aim was to build on the foundational work undertaken by Off The Wall, which established the first Alt2Su group in NSW, and that of Mercy Care, DISCHARGED, ConnectGroups and Curtin University, which introduced and fostered the approach in Western Australia. Alt2Su Facilitator Training attended by Off The Wall was made possible by a small group of Victorian-based mental health survivor activists (without any formal organisational support). This presentation will focus on significant learnings through the process of supporting this alternative approach to the experience of suicide, which have relevance to anyone interested in establishing and supporting sustainable lived experience driven alternatives to traditional mental health care.