A Reflection on Suicide

A Reflection on Suicide
In February 2021 the Chai in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic of suicide. Here are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.

How do we think suicide affects Punjabi communities?

It affects us like it affects any other community. There are certain factors like patriarchy that means we don’t often talk about by suicide. The issue also attracts stigma for affected families and it can be seen as a sign of failure and shame that one of their loved ones could have done this.  

Are there spaces where we speak about this issue?

In the older and first generation we feel this isn’t really discussed except maybe in very hushed terms that even then it has shame and guilt attached to it.

There is hope with today’s (and future) generations that we are begin to talk about this issue and this is even seen in the language we use - dieing of suicide and not ‘committing’ suicide which has guilt and shame attached to it and acts a barrier and non-discussion of the topic.

What do you think someone who is suicidal looks like?

In short – they look like you and me! They can be of every background, just in the same way that every community is affected by mental health issues, we are also impacted by suicide.

There are some signs however that someone may be struggling with their mental health that we can look out for – such as not eating properly, not sleeping properly, behaving erratically or seeming to lose interest in activities they would have enjoyed before. Something we can all do is ask people, whether they need support or to direct them to support if required.

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