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Amber (they/them) has shared their lived experience of suicide with us. If you feel like you want to stop reading, there is Quick Exit button on the top right of this page.

You can read other lived experience stories here.


I first started thinking about suicide when I was a kid. I don’t remember being scared about these thoughts like some people might expect. Instead, they were a comfort – a way I could escape the distress I experienced in my day-to-day life. I didn’t tell anyone that I was thinking about suicide.

It wasn’t something that was ever talked about. At that stage in my life, I’m not sure I even had the words to explain what was happening inside my head. And frankly, at the time, I didn’t think anyone would have cared.   

These days, I frequently reflect on the statistics that show that bi+ people are disproportionately impacted by suicidality. In Private Lives 3, Australia’s largest to date study on LGBTQIA+ mental health and wellbeing, about 55% of pansexual participants and 49% of bisexual participants reported having seriously considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months. For those of us that sit at the intersections of multiple marginalised backgrounds, I know that these rates are even higher. The compounding impacts of structural oppression and intergenerational traumas on suicidality cannot be understated.  

Though these statistics tell me I’m not alone, I grieve because these numbers are devastatingly high. It’s a bit cliché but it’s worth stating here that I know these statistics are the lived realities for too many people in our communities. They are our friends, family – be it chosen or relatives – and loved ones. These statistics propel me to think about what we can do to support one another and create a culture of collective care, particularly through peer support and in undertaking work that counteracts stigma against people with experiences of suicide.  

Peer support, and specifically connecting with other bi+ people who have lived experience of suicidality, continues to play an essential role in my life.

Support from people who don’t expect me to conform to societal norms and from people who don’t make assumptions about who I am or what I have been through has made a significant difference.

As someone who has, on countless occasions, both sought and provided peer support, I can say with great confidence that this is something that saves lives. While some of us set out to be peer supporters rather deliberately, whether it be through paid work or otherwise, some of us have fallen into a peer support role by circumstance. For example, because we’ve been impacted by suicide in some way or because we have been advocates for our communities. It’s important, though, that peer supporters are also, in turn, provided with the support we need and deserve. Without it, there’s high risk that peer support is not sustainable, that people will burn out and that this lifesaving mechanism is no longer available to those of us who rely on it. In being involved in peer support, I feel a deep connection to a long line of LGBTQIA+ ancestors who came before me, continuing the important tradition of looking after our communities.  

I should also say that it took me a long time to admit out loud that I had experienced thoughts of suicide. I was an adult sitting in a GP’s office and I’m sure the words came out in a near whisper. The shame I carried with me felt like bricks in a backpack I could never set down and I was terrified that because of my experiences I was broken irreparably. I didn’t want people in my life to treat me like I was fragile, nor did I want anyone around me to treat me as if I was a “risk”. I certainly didn’t want to have to play the role of educator when all I needed was someone to talk to about how I was feeling. While general attention around suicide seems to have grown, stigma around suicidality persists.

It’s important that, where we feel safe to do so, we challenge this stigma, have conversations about lived experiences and the impacts that this stigma has in the short-term and long term. 

When I think back to being a kid and when I first had those thoughts of suicide, I want to scoop young Amber into a hug. I can’t quite tell them it will be ok because I know I’ll have many not-ok days ahead. I can’t tell them that those thoughts of suicide will go away because I still have them to this day. However, I can say to them that I know they are doing their best. That they deserve compassion, love, and safety. That peer support will help them feel not alone, and that their lived experience will play a role in reducing stigma. Most importantly, I can tell them that someday they will be proud of who they are. They will find a community that is there when they need it most and one that celebrates them in all their queer glory.