Working life: Caroline McGuigan, founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive


Working life: Caroline McGuigan, founder and CEO of Suicide or Survive

As someone who attempted suicide in their 20s, I know it is essential to look after myself.

From the early stages of my experience I chose to speak out and not get caught in the stigma that is so entrenched in mental illness.

I understand you can struggle and also be productive as a person, it is not one or the other.


I have a cup of coffee while planning my day which includes team meetings, strategic planning, facilitating, governance, fundraising, up-and-coming programmes, external evaluations, partnerships and self-care within the team.

We’ve come through a busy period organising National Workplace Wellbeing Health Day where we encouraged companies to make mental wellbeing a priority.


I meet up with the national programme manager and team in our office in Shankill.

Among the programmes we offer are the six-month Eden Programme for people who have attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts; WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) which allows people to create daily maintenance plans for their wellness; Wellness Workshop which gives a menu of strategies for wellness and the Supporters Programme which teaches practical skills people can use to support others and gives information on what supports are available.

12 noon

The rest of the morning is spent replying to emails, making calls and highlighting our programmes on social media with the team — we take a strong team approach.


I have a Skype call with our international WRAP facilitator, we prepare to deliver a five-day advanced WRAP facilitation course, designed to help participants develop tailored action plans they can use on a daily basis.

We deliver programmes in the community, corporate, youth and prison environments. We train and mentor WRAP facilitators in these environments.


I’ve an appointment with my organisational supervision to explore what is working well within the organisation and why and also areas for further development.


I’m a psychotherapist for over 15 years. I see a client. Then I head home and take 20 minutes for my TM and have a cuppa and a chat with my husband, John, and my children, Conor (19) and Amy (16), to see how their day went.

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