Lived experience narratives as social justice

AAS Conference, April 28th 2017, 2:45 PM

Authors: Vega, Bryan, Collins, Spencer-Thomas

 Summary Authors (Twitter)
  • Contact with someone with lived experience has best chance of addressing stigma
  • Skilled speakers with lived experience of suicide attempts and loss, we can challenge stigma and silence
  • Becoming a change agent
    • from a purely private life of safety and low responsibility for others
    • into blended life mixing personal passion and the public domain
    • start with a period of reflection on the opportunities and potential consequences
    • messaging guidelines to constructively inspire others
  • advocates that are most successful find ways to integrate the suicide topics into everyday conversations
  • think creatively about how to bring the issues into their classrooms, workplaces, and faith communities
  • present to local community groups, organize town hall meetings and write letters to the editors
  • educating elected officials, collaborating with the media, testifying at public hearings and organizing community rallies
  • empower those who have suffered to publicly embrace their full identity
  • going public with a personal story about suicide also carries risks:
    • realities of backlash are tangible
    • people may gossip and potentially try to discredit the messenger
    • shift the blame from the sources of distress to the victims themselves
  • develop new stories over the lifecycle of their suicide prevention engagement
    • people recently affected by suicide
    • people ready to start sharing their story
    • change agents experiencing burnout and fatigue
    • veterans ready to pass the torch onto the next generation
Eduardo Vega
Heidi Bryan
Stan Collins
Sally Spencer-Thomas

Twitter commentary