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Lived Experience in Suicide Prevention – Communities of Practice Groups  

As part of our Lived Experience Network, NSPA is setting up online Lived Experience Communities of Practice Groups for people who are using their lived experience to influence suicide prevention work. 

It is vital that suicide prevention activity is underpinned by lived experience, and we know that there are many people, across the country, using their lived experience to influence suicide prevention work and drive change. 

We often hear from people who are looking for spaces to connect with, learn from and gain support from others who also using their lived experience in similar ways to them. Through these groups, we want to provide a supportive and reflective space to bring people together, and to learn from each other. 

Here is a video of Jess, our Lived Experience Network Manager, talking in more detail about why we set these groups up. Please note, if you’re not able to view this video, all the information you need is written below. 

Who are the groups for?

By lived experience, we mean people who have first-hand personal experience of living with suicidal thoughts, attempting suicide, being bereaved by suicide, or of caring for someone with experiences of suicidality.   

These groups are for people who are openly using or drawing on their lived experience in a role that influences suicide prevention work. For example:   

-Independently using your lived experience to influence and inform suicide prevention, for example as a professional lived experience consultant, public speaker, or leader. 

-Taking part in suicide prevention work through lived experience roles (voluntary or paid) within organisations (e.g., through co-production projects). 

-As someone who is working professionally in a relevant sector, who also has and openly uses your lived experience of suicide in your work.

We know that experiences of suicide often, but not always, intersect with a range of additional diverse experiences which people may also be drawing on in their roles. This might include, for example, experiences of mental health issues, addiction, or being in the criminal justice system. People also may be drawing on experiences, such as being from a minoritised ethnicity group, being LGBTQ+, neurodivergent, or disabled.  We are keen to include people with a range of experiences which you may be drawing on.  

What will they look like? How will they work?

The groups will be facilitated by NSPA’s lived experience network staff – Jess and Rosie – who have personal lived experience themselves, plus a wealth of experience facilitating supportive and safe spaces for people with lived experience to support each other in what they do.  

The communities of practice groups will be held online via Zoom meetings, with the same groups of up to 12 people meeting every 1-2 months.  

Each meeting will be up to 2 hours long. They will include space for group members to share learning and reflections, discuss challenges, and seek advice related to their lived experience work in suicide prevention.  

We will discuss in the first 1-2 meetings how to structure the sessions, and this may develop over time in a way that is steered by members of each group.  

To ensure the space feels safe for all involved, we will develop a group agreement with members of the group, and support will be on hand from facilitators.  

As this is a new programme, we will be piloting it for an initial 6 months, with potential to extend following a review. 

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in being part of a Lived Experience Community of Practice group, please complete an expression of interest form here.

We plan to set up the first group(s) in June, so to be considered for this group please complete the expression of interest form by 31st May.  

We will use expressions of interest to decide whether these groups are right for you. We will be in touch by the second week of June to let you know about the outcome of your expression of interest and provide further information about next steps.   

Depending on the number of people who express an interest, we may split people into smaller groups, and will do so based on the range of experiences and interests indicated in peoples’ expressions of interest.