Consider this an update to the issue that I have brought up a few times here on this blog, most notably here:
The Bhutanese are Killing Themselves at an Alarming Rate
A Report on Suicide among Bhutanese-Nepali Refugees
Calling on the Bhutanese Refugee Community to Stop Killing Yourselves
I am thrilled to see that a number of key leaders in the US-based diaspora group have taken the initiative to speak out on suicide and have gone as far to organized a program in Akron, Ohio under the "Stop Suicide Project" banner and presented by the Menuka Memorial Foundation. This is a worthy effort to raise awareness and open dialogue in a community that has suffered one of the highest suicide rates in the world. I applaud especially the artist-leaders who have lent their talents and the organizational and leaders who have sought to bring mental health professionals into this event.
A couple issues that I'd like to highlight:
1. Akron is an excellent choice for this event as it represents one of the largest hubs for secondary resettlement among the Bhutanese in the USA and is a true weigh-station for Bhutanese travel from the Midwest to the East coast and vice versa. Most Bhutanese east of the Mississippi have been through Akron at one point or another. Of course, I hope that similar events will take place in many other cities as well.
2. One apparent omission is the involvement of spiritual leaders in the effort. Hindu pundits, Christian pastors and Buddhist lamas should find this to be an issue of common ground. It would be a very powerful message indeed to see pastor, pundit and lama joining hands to proclaim the holiness of life, the inherent evil of suicide, and to tell the community that it is good and acceptable (not shameful) to ask for help with emotional and mental difficulties.
If you are around the Akron area, don't miss this event. I, for one, really wish I could be there!