Why understanding the role of culture can help prevent suicide The increasing domination of biological approaches in suicide research and prevention, at the expense of social and cultural understanding, is severely harming our ability to stop people dying – so run the clearly set out arguments and evidence in this lucid book by leading social scientists and suicide researchers. In the first part of this book, instead of simply comparing suicide in different countries, the authors review and examine the fundamental issues of why culture is of vital importance in understanding and preventing suicidal behavior, what the “cultural meaning” of suicide is, and where current research and theory are leading us. The second part of the book then presents (and, importantly, also critiques) exemplary recent research, including a quantitative and qualitative study on the meaning of suicide in Australia, India, and Italy, which is reported in detail, as well as other studies on correlates of suicidal behavior in Kuwait and the US, on a culturally specific form of suicide (sati), and on the role of cultural conflict in South Korea. In the concluding section, the editors highlight both the necessity and the challenges of conducting good culturally sensitive studies, as well as suggesting solutions to these challenges. This volume is thus essential reading for anyone involved in suicide research and prevention.
"Suicide and Culture: Understanding the Context provides a comprehensive picture of how, by understanding the role of culture, suicides can be prevented. This book is a must-read for everyone in the fields of suicidology, suicide prevention, and research. "The authors present sound evidence on why culture is important in all suicide prevention research, including biology. ...The debate on the cultural meaning of suicide is particularly well-written, drawing on both theory and practice. The authors challenge readers to think for themselves - [they] also provide invaluable advice on research methodology that would be of tremendous help to both novice and advanced researchers. - Of particular significance are the quotes from study participants which provide a window into the lives of those affected by suicide. The authors are to be commended for retaining the "voice" of the participants, whose words are powerful and a poignant reminders of reality." Nandika Currey, BSc, DPH, in the AAS (American Association of Suicidology) newsletter, March 2013 "[The book] discusses the role of culture in a biological era ... debates the cultural meaning of suicide, presents research and theories on the role of culture in suicide [and] opens the dialogue for further discussion and research." Valerie E. Mathis-Allen, MD, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, in Doody's Notes, 2013 Recent Praise: "By taking culture seriously, the contributors have produced a path-breaking book that can inform the next generation of suicide research, clinical practice, and prevention." Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Head of Social Axis, FRSQ Suicide Research Network; Director of Culture & Mental Health Research Unit, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry "An eye opening book which also will hopefully open the minds of all professionals concerned with suicide and suicide prevention." Prof. Benedetto Saraceno, MSc, MD, FRCPsych, Calouste Gulbenkian Professor of Global Health, University Nova of Lisbon, Portugal; Director of WHO Collaborating Center on Mental Health, University of Geneva, Switzerland "A wise, excellent, and original book... Uptodate and modern, it is an important book for all persons involved in suicide prevention." Prof. Sergio Perez, MD, Founder of World Psychiatric Association's Suicidology Section and Founder of World Suicidology Net "This valuable book, if well used, will not only help to save human life and human capital, but also help society to understand a fundamental philosophical issue facing us all: the meaning of life and the value we place upon it." Prof. Kamaldeep Bhui, BSc, MBBS, MSc, MSc, MD, FRCPsych, Professor of Cultural Psychiatry & Epidemiology, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, UK "I was completely captivated by the book, which is a landmark in the study of culture and suicide. A perfect mix of precision and compassion." Prof. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, MBBS, DPM, PhD, FRCPsyc, Founder of SNEHA; Honorary Associate Professor, Melbourne University, Australia; Adjunct Professor, Australian Institute for Suicide and Research Prevention, Griffith University, Australia "This book is a wake-up call to suicidologists." Prof. Michael Kral, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL