Monday, July 28, 2014

nothing fixes a thing so intently in the memory as the wish to forget it.

Criticisms and suggestions for future conferences:
-Different venue (more natural light, quiet room more central, clear walkways for people to leave if needed)
-Consider offering a financial income graded ticket price (eg. Centrelink, remote/rural or student specific)
-Designated staff on a rotate for quiet room support, room to be centrally located so that distressed individuals cannot be sidelined or out of sight from others (do not make open distress a taboo or deny its connection to the discussion of suicide)
-Better understanding of attempt survivors and the triggering aspects of talks (not enough to follow Mindframe guidelines, but actually consider how speech might affect survivors vs. bereaved)
-Increased youth participation
-Better understanding and emphasis on the biological, neurological and hereditary aspects of suicide
-Shorter plenary sessions (understand fatigue, sensory overload, concentration restrictions of participants)
-Appropriate response to disclosure of lived experience (not “Oh great! You're a suicide survivor! What do you think of [insert new government program here]?)
-We are not there to be studied or examined, we must be shown respect
-Reduce clique nature of conference attendees, suits with suits, lived experience committee members with other committee members (increases sense of isolation, loneliness and minority)

-Acknowledge that the most vulnerable are the most accurate source of current program success, do not exclude those who are most relevant (and the people you intend to save!)
-Saving lives ≠ good quality of life (QOL)
-Aim to reduce attempts and deaths by suicide
-Make a real and dedicated effort to use art therapy, massage, self care as part of the program for all participants
-Discussion of protective factors (eg. faith, social support, education levels rather than gender identity, sexuality or low socio-economic status)
-Increase areas for seating (especially during meal times) and stress to event staff the sensitive nature of the conference
-Offer for all slideshows to be available via USBs at the end of the conference to discourage people to be madly scribbling or using iPads to take notes (distracting to audience members and impolite to speakers)
-Understand the crossover between categories in lived experience (survivor and carer or bereaved and self harm)
-Increased cultural sensitivity for all Australians (not just Black and White...where were the Asian or African participants? Multicultural Australia...40% of Australia's population were born in a country other than Australia)
-Trauma informed practice; understanding suicide as a trauma response or childhood related condition (ACF training?), increased discussion of non-historical or financial triggers for suicide such as grief, abuse, sexual assault, learning barriers or PTSD (especially veterans)

-Networking lunch should include additional category of professionals working in x, it is insulting and insensitive to be questioned by suits when you expect to be with allies (survivors)
-Lived experience  license to say triggering content
-Better representation of lived experience from mental health organisations (eg. Voices VIC, the Mental Illness Fellowship, Youth & Well CRC, headspace Youth Panel), actively seek and invite mental illness survivors (nothing about us, without us)
-Stories or anecdotes should be in 1st person or as a case study (even if they use loose pseudonyms Jenny or Brian), too easily personalised otherwise
-Distinction between grief of loss to suicide and trauma of witnessed loss (finding the body, witnessing an attempt)
-Involvement of ambos and police staff with lived experience
-Discuss acute, severe and persistent suicide ideation compared with isolated attempts, attempts in response to specific life circumstances or psychosis suicidal ideation; affect on the family, stigma from medical staff
-Discussion of effective and specific pharmacological interventions for suicide ideation and aim to explore naturopathic interventions for suicide, including Omega-3, B12, vitamin D
-Careful safety measures for conference location (no balconies, avoid direct access to main road, etc.)
-Encourage all participants (who feel able) to ask about others well-being, not just counselling staff (especially underline the importance of open ended questions...are you OK?” is too easily fobbed off)

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