Local Lived Experience Network provides powerful contributions locally and nationally

Cheshire and Merseyside’s Lived Experience Network (LEN) for suicide and self-harm prevention is helping inform both local and national approaches to suicide prevention.

The LEN, which officially launched in 2021 and is now made up of 56 members, aims to give people with lived experience of self-harm and suicide a voice, so that organisations can create better policies and offer more tailored support to those who need it.

In the past two years, LEN members have provided their views on a variety of projects and initiatives, including the Cheshire and Merseyside Suicide Prevention Strategy for 2022 to 2027, which was launched a few months ago.

As well as the valuable contributions LEN members make to Cheshire and Merseyside’s suicide prevention strategies, members have also contributed to national schemes and have inspired other regions and subregions in the country to create similar networks.

How the LEN is making a difference

Local authorities have asked members to regularly contribute to their local suicide prevention action planning meetings, where their voice can be heard to positively influence and support further work within their area. An example of this is members’ involvement in the creation of a local suicide prevention campaign.

The organisation that worked with the LEN on this campaign said:

“LEN facilitated and gave us access to LEN members to help us co-create our suicide prevention campaign. This co-creation was invaluable, and we could not have done this without the network. Nothing was too much trouble to the network, and they went above and beyond in supporting our work. A massive thank you.”

Across Cheshire and Merseyside, members have helped with the development of self-harm safe kits, as well as attend learning events for organisations like AMPARO and AQUA (Advancing Quality Alliance).

Speaking about their experience of this, a LEN member said:

“During all interactions with AMPARO, I felt that my input was valued and my opinions were respected. Both Wirral Mind and AMPARO always responded in a timely manner.”

As well as this, members played a key role in the development of the subregion’s Suicide Prevention Strategy for 2022 to 2027. Members were involved in a number of ways, including through surveys, workshops and making valuable comments on the strategy document itself. Many members also chose to present at the launch event itself.

Finally, members have also contributed significantly to the live testing and development of life saving apps and supported multiple pieces of work with the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.