ALTERNATIVES TO SUICIDE
The Alternatives to Suicide approach was developed by The Wildflower Alliance (formerly the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community) in the USA . The Wildflower Alliance has cultivated healing spaces where conversations are held that otherwise rarely happen. Alternatives to Suicide is a peer-to-peer support practice for voicing, sitting with, understanding, and moving through suicidal thoughts.
The primary focus of Alternatives to Suicide lies in mutual connection and relationship. While one outcome may be suicide prevention, the parameters of Alternatives to Suicide groups are distinctly different from current suicide prevention efforts.
This difference is most evident in that we emphasize responsibility to – and not for or over. In other words, we are responsible to be honest, transparent, and present with one another, but cannot be responsible for one another’s choices or actions. Furthermore, we acknowledge that, at times, great harm has been done when the system has attempted to take responsibility for or over an individual, and that that has sometimes had the effect of causing more harm, isolation, and disconnection.
As a recognized and sought-after way to enter into conversation and change how each of us sits with thoughts and perceptions around suicide, it is important to maintain clarity around what Alternatives to Suicide is and is not.
The Alternatives to Suicide approach and groups are separate and very different from traditional mental health services and suicide prevention overall.