Immediate response -
Connection in crisis
Suicide Narratives seeks to offer Emotional CPR and Just Listening during times of acute distress. Although each has a slightly different perspective on witnessing and connecting, the approaches share many common elements.
Just Listening is intended to provide a sense of Justice through the process of listening. Not seeking to change or alter, nor solve the problem or find solutions, Just Listening is a humanistic approach that places the presence and intention of mutuality as central. An overview of Just Listening and the skills employed are available at www.justlistening.com.au/learning. Just Listening is an active process that facilitates meaning making through the Justice of hearing a person and their story -: ‘It is important to remember that story-telling and meaning-making are universal human capacities' (Johnstone and Boyle, 2018 et al, 2018, p. 244).
Just Listening can be undertaken anywhere, at any time. It requires great intention on behalf of the listener and the person in distress; the intention to be in human to human connection.
Emotional CPR (ECPR) has been developed by the lived experience community around the world, through the National Empowerment Centre (power2u.org) towards finding healing through lived and living experiences of connection, especially at times of distress.
ECPR is a public education approach that seeks to come from feelings first, inviting the offering of our heart to the other in a time of emotional crisis, towards a flow of new life when two people share connection and mutual empowerment. ECPR is an approach that supports people in suicidal crisis through the power of mutuality and revitalisation in connection. Further information about ECPR is available at emotional-cpr.org.
Both ECPR and Just Listening are humane ways to offer justice and develop connection towards empowerment, by hearing a person in crisis and sharing in the moment as mutually human. Both approaches seek not to fix, but instead lead with feelings and deep listening.
Both ECPR and Just Listening can be facilitated over and over - whenever a person seeks support. The Suicide Narrative approach advocates a person reaching out to find connection and meaning as often as the individual needs. Suicide Narratives rejects any notion that it is a negative or problematic situation for a person in ongoing crisis to reach out for support as often as is necessary for their safety. It is common in mental health crisis services to pathologize and put in place barriers to connection when a person reaches out repeatedly.
Suicide Narratives does not place pejorative labels on a person who finds themselves asking for connection on numerous occasions. Indeed, the listener may reflect that the person in distress has not truly been heard or has more to share if the person is returning for connection again. Thus, the responsibility is on the supporter, not the person in distress, to offer connection, compassion and meaningful action. In facilitating Justice to the person in distress, and their story, mutuality can be found, and right understanding of shared realities can be developed.
ECPR and Just Listening are not the domain of a single expert or classification of professional, but can instead be practiced by family members, friends, professionals, or any member of the community who are skilled in the approaches. Learning ECPR and Just Listening is recommended for anyone who wishes to find meaningful connection.
The value of connection across all our communities is an imperative in the context of a person contemplating ending their own life.