Sunday, 5 February 2017

What, why and how

Touched By Suicide was first presented by Community Arts Network (CAN) in partnership with WA Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) on the 13th of October 2016 as part of Mental Health Week. The workshop was created by artist and trainer James Berlyn and co facilitated with artist and trainer Zoe Warwick at the Studio of the State Theatre Centre of WA.

Typewriters are used in the workshop rather than digital platforms. This is done for the protection of the workshop participants. A typed note once placed into a box full of other typed notes is, for all intents and purposes, anonymous.

Touched By Suicide is a safe-space art practice for people whose lives have been affected by suicide or suicidal ideation. The focus of the work is participant centered, comfort-based, invited participation. However, participants are not required nor are they enforced to participate in anyway. If they elect to contribute, participants are offered opportunities to share anonymously or more collectively, depending on their preference and level of comfort. Great pains are taken to create a safe space environment for all participants and throughout the duration of the workshop. Also in attendance at the workshop were CAN staff and clinical psychologist.

The goal of the workshop is for participants to explore ways to safely share their own experiences (if that is their choice) and to bare witness to others in the group also sharing. The focus of the sharing concerns a number of provocations led by the facilitators of the workshop. The intention is for participants to share 'what has worked and what has helped'.  In so offering, their insights benefit all the participants of the workshop group and by the end of the workshop, participants leave with an enhanced 'toolkit' of methodologies and approaches to assist them with their own journey through this most difficult of human experiences.

This blog is intended to be a record of the anonymous contributions of workshop participants in the hope that their wisdom and experience which they have so generously shared here may benefit others dealing with similar life (and death) experiences.

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