NSPA Lived Experience Influencers

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. 

As part of this, we are working with a group of Lived Experience Influencers, who are provided with training and regular support to draw on their lived experience in influencing roles and opportunities.

We’re not currently recruiting Lived Experience Influencers, but if you’re interested in hearing more about the role of Lived Experience Influencers, please read:

  • Role Overview, which includes information on the time commitments, application process, what current Influencers have told us about what they have gained, and the next training dates.
  • Our ‘readiness’ document, as talking about suicide can be emotionally challenging, and it might be helpful to check if you are ready to join this group and share your experience
  • More information on the training and support provided below

Who can be a Lived Experience Influencer?

Our Lived Experience Influencers are all over 18 and and have lived experience(s) related to suicide. By ‘lived experience’, we mean personal experience of one or more of the following: 

  • Living with suicidal thoughts 
  • Experience of attempting suicide 
  • Being bereaved by suicide 
  • Living with, or caring for, someone who experiences suicidal thoughts and/or has attempted suicide.

In our last round of recruitment, we were particularly keen to receive applications from people who are from marginalised or under-represented groups, including:

  • People who are Black, Brown, Asian or from minoritized ethnicity groups
  • People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ)
  • People who are neurodiverse


The aims of the training will be to equip the Influencers to safely, effectively and meaningfully use their lived experience to inform and influence suicide prevention policy and practice in a range of settings.

You will be asked to attend 8 group training sessions on weekdays afternoons/evenings, and some short one to one sessions with staff. Due to current regulations and best practice relating to the COVID19 pandemic, these sessions are being planned for delivery via online video conferencing platform Zoom. Full instructions will be provided.

Influencers will be equipped to:

  • Understand the aims, objectives and working practices of the NSPA; how this Lived Experience Programme sits within in it and within the suicide prevention agenda
  • Understand the current picture regarding suicide and prevention activity in England and how national and local policy and practice works to help prevent suicide and support people bereaved by suicide
  • Understand the range of involvement opportunities to influence suicide prevention and develop the knowledge and skills required to effectively and confidently participate
  • Be aware of and know how to access national and local suicide prevention and wellbeing resources for themselves and others
  • Explore and develop personal self-care, wellbeing and resilience strategies
  • Develop an awareness of using safe and effective messaging and language when speaking or writing about suicide in different contexts
  • Explore and understand ethics and boundaries involved in suicide prevention Influence and Participation work relevant to their roles
  • Understand the values, principles benefits, challenges and practices involved in Influence and Participation work
  • Prepare practice and reflect on sharing their lived experience in order to more fully understand how it can be used to effectively influence suicide prevention policy and practice in a range of settings
  • Appreciate the range and diversity of lived experience of others and be able to represent views and experiences different to their own
  • Develop their active listening, communication skills and confidence to influence conversations about suicide in a range of settings


As well as the normal demands of the role, we know that being an Influencer could be emotionally challenging. With this in mind we are establishing structures to support the wellbeing and development of the Influencers:

  • Influencers will be provided with a contact email address throughout the process and are encouraged to make contact about any concerns or questions they have.
  • Influencers will have a 1:1 coaching call halfway through the initial training and after the training to give space for people to reflect individually on their experience with the project, the work going forward, and consider additional training and or support needs.
  • After the training Influencers will be invited to join an online forum to share and reflect on the participation activities they are undertaking and to identify further information and training needs.
  • As part of the initial training Influencers will be provided with an externally facilitated online wellbeing and resilience session that provides practical tools that support wellbeing, help manage stress and increase resilience.
  • Influencers will be offered bite-sized additional information and training modules based on their needs from their experience of undertaking the work.
  • As the programme develops, we will provide Influencers with regular information on how the group has been used to influence suicide prevention policy and practice. We also hope the Influencers will continue to shape the future of the programme.
  • As the programme develops, we hope that we will be able to offer the Influencers ongoing professional development opportunities that meet their needs and the needs of the programme. We will work with the influencers to identify what the needs of the programme are.

Talking about suicide can be emotionally challenging or triggering. If you need support, you can find a service local to you here: hubofhope.co.uk

Samaritans provides confidential emotional support 24/7 to anyone in distress, including anyone that is feeling suicidal: call 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

Promoting Equality & Diversity

NSPA believes that diversity of experience and background is essential to this work and will add value to the lived experience programme. We are also committed to recognising diversity in all areas of this work and in ensuring equality of opportunity and outcome.  We recognise the impact of discrimination and disadvantage on many groups in society, especially those with protected characteristics.  In line with the Equality Act (2010) and Human Rights Act (1998) we want to afford all those we work with the dignity and respect so essential in achieving their full potential, free of intentional or unintentional bias.

We undertake diversity monitoring to ensure we promote equality of opportunity for all who wish to engage with us. It will help us ensure we work harder to encourage applications from under-represented groups both now and in the future. It will also support targeted surveying of panel members with protected characteristics to the benefit of suicide prevention programmes.