• Time: 10am – 1pm (Registrations open at 9.30)
  • Date: Friday 9th March 2018
  • Location: Glebe Town Hall, 160 St Johns Road Glebe NSW

Alternatives to Suicide is an innovative peer led suicide prevention program from the Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community (USA). Being and inside out & associates australia are pleased to bring Caroline Mazel-Carlton and Sera Davidow to Sydney to outline how this approach evolved and why it has been so successful.

The Western Mass Recovery Learning Community (RLC) creates conditions that support recovery at both the individual and community level through trauma-sensitive peer supports and the development of a regional network. They believe that human relationships are at the center of what heals people who have experienced extreme emotional states, trauma, mental health diagnoses and a variety of other challenges in life. Their lived experience and ‘humanness’ is what unites them. Their stories, collective wisdom and strength are what guide them and their community to wellness. You can view further information about this program and the Western Mass RLC here.

The presenters will share their knowledge about this approach at the Alternatives to Suicide Forum during their brief stopover in Sydney. For information about other events during their visit to Australia go to www.mercycare.com.au/ats-2018 (Perth) or contact AlternativesMelb@gmail.com (Victoria).

Bookings are essential for this FREE forum. Register your place now via Eventbrite or email info@insideoutconversations.com.au or phone 0435 348 168.

We acknowledge the generous support and initiative of MercyCare, Western Australia, in bringing the Alternatives to Suicide Peer Support training to Australia.

We’d also like to thank Flick Grey and the volunteer team at Alternatives Melbourne (AlternativesMelb@gmail.com) for letting us know about the Alternatives to Suicide approach.


What Alternatives to Suicide Group members are saying…

‘As a mother, there was shame around these thoughts. I thought I must be the most selfish person in the world. In the group, I discovered there were other mothers out there who have these thoughts. In this group I have found liberation.’

‘Alternatives to Suicide is, at the end of the day, about relationship-building. It makes me feel connected, that I am not alone. Relationships that grow out of sadness can become incredibly rich and filled with laughter.’

“Before [these groups], there was a big part of myself that I couldn’t show anybody.  I was told I could only talk about my sadness in this sanctioned little box (my therapist’s office).  But I couldn’t even talk about suicide there, because they would make me go into the hospital.”

What others are saying about this program…

‘Alternatives to Suicide is a path-breaking approach that I consider to be one of the most innovative developments in mental health anywhere in the world. In recognition of their pioneering work, these colleagues were awarded the `Leadership in Suicide Prevention’ Award in 2014 by the Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Coalition. They were the first (and remain one of the few) to offer a trauma informed, peer to peer approach to supporting people to move through experiences like thoughts of killing themselves. One of the major strengths of the approach is that it is designed not only to help create peer-to-peer groups called Alternatives to Suicide, but many of the concepts can also be shared with clinical workers and applied directly in their own work.’

Gail A Hornstein, Professor of Psychology, author of Agnes’s Jacket, Mt Holyoke College, Massachusetts,USA. 

‘I am impressed by the work that Western Mass RLC carry out. Not only have they been pioneers in the development of a new approach to suicide, utilizing the lived experience of peers, but they also have developed an excellent Hearing Voices Network, and peer run respite, Afflyn House. In their efforts they are truly helping to transform the mental health system from a maintenance to a self-determination and empowerment approach.’

Daniel B Fisher MD, Phd, CEO, National Empowerment Centre, USA.

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