Who We Are
PAUSE (People Addressing and Understanding Suicide Experiences) is a global movement founded on a growing awareness that the current state of suicide prevention science has been inadequate in addressing and understanding the complexity of suicide. PAUSE is grounded in compassion, social & economic justice, and health equity for all, valuing lived experiences with suicide. Our purpose is to reduce the suffering associated with suicide by improving those things which make life worth living through community engagement, support, education, advocacy, and research that informs clinical & non-clinical practices.
Declaration and Narrative
We invite you to question, probe, and attempt to deeply understand these principles that we believe in:
- PAUSE recognizes suicide as a part of the human condition;
- PAUSE seeks to address psychological, spiritual, physical, and social pain associated with the complexity of suicide and acknowledges that suicidal feelings can stem from the conditions in which a person exists;
- PAUSE aims to improve those things which make life worth living. Therefore, suicide prevention is not the only focus of PAUSE;
- PAUSE questions sole reliance on the prevailing medical-legal models for solutions to the complexity of suicide and supports a fearless examination of alternative approaches;
- PAUSE will prioritize the sharing of knowledge with all interested parties via training, support, education, conversations, and community mobilization;
- PAUSE seeks to address the complexity of suicide by improving access to care and support for life, including addressing financial barriers to care, quality of care, and the lack of providers;
- PAUSE equally welcomes the “expertise” of all participants, be that through lived experience, educational training, and/or professional credentials;
- PAUSE will encourage shared responsibility within the movement throughout all activities, recognizing all individuals have leadership potential;
- PAUSE will center, in all decision- making processes, the knowledge and understanding of those with lived experience, those impacted by suicide, and those concerned about suicide;
- PAUSE will facilitate the creation of an international community with specific attention to building solidarity with those who are or have been marginalized.
In September 2021, a group of people came together to share the vision of a better way to understand and address suicide experiences; one based in hope, compassion, courage and validation of lived experience with suicide and/or its aftermath. We aspired to create a “warm and inviting tent,” a safe space that welcomed all voices of people with a seat at the table. We were concerned about the exclusion of many groups of people, including those with lived experience, in the prevailing, and often constraining, systems of addressing suicide that invoke fear and defensiveness.
PAUSE sought not to merely prevent death but to affirm, strengthen, and encourage life. Although we believe that hospitalization/detention of an individual may be needed by/for some, other options should be available when hospitalization may exacerbate suicide ideation or be otherwise counterproductive. As part of this belief, we sought to promote alternative ways of sharing healing, compassion, validation and care with those who live with suicide loss and suicidal feelings. We believe that this will, one step at a time, change the environment regarding suicide to the point where compassion and respect for our common humanity is standard and the sharing of their own suicidal feelings and loss(es) occurs with the assurance that the priority of those supporting them is to help them cope and avoid hospitalization where possible.
Today, PAUSE is working to create safe, supportive spaces to delve into the complexity of suicide. To date we have hosted multiple Community Circles and will continue to do so. In these Community Circles, through the sharing of and listening to ideas and stories, we have sparked the exploration of this complexity through a variety of approaches. Our conversations have demonstrated that there are multiple and diverse voices willing to engage in our efforts to expand the current approaches within the mental health & health care systems regarding care and support of persons with suicide experiences. We have validated these ideas via surveys of our growing community of PAUSE supporters. The diverse sources of information have shown that suicide is a complex part of the human condition, drawing its pervasiveness from multiple and varied environmental and social contexts, individual experiences, and personal beliefs. This complexity must be acknowledged and explored with humility, compassion, and respect for our common humanity.
PAUSE seeks to welcome all voices especially those who have historically been excluded and marginalized; including people with lived expertise to explore all proposed options. We recognize the importance of knowledge gained through experience and desire that this knowledge should be given credence and respect. PAUSE seeks to grow and enrich our community with a multitude of diverse voices.
If you can help us with these events with facilitation, note taking, or other support please fill out this form so we can make the events available to more people. Training will be provided.