Suicide ideation - experiences of adversely racialised people: research

Research commissioned by the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) into the experiences of suicide ideation of racialised people in Scotland.

Summary and context

Scottish Government's National Suicide Prevention Action Plan – Every Life Matters. The plan was published in 2018 and has an ambitious goal of reducing the rate of suicide by 20% by 2022. The research reported is part of Action 7 of Every Life Matters plan.

Action 7 aims to identify and facilitate preventative actions targeted at risk groups of suicide. An initial phase of activities to support Action 7 was completed between December 2019 – October 2020. However, analysis of the engagement identified a number of gaps which found little involvement of people from minority ethnic communities, including migrant and refugee communities. This research has come about because of an "intervention" in the development of the Every Life matters plan to address this omission.

Therefore, this second phase of activities has been developed to ensure the perspectives of minority ethnic communities are included in the analysis of suicide risk groups within the development of the National Suicide Prevention Plan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become an important "tool" to clarify the mechanisms and outcomes of systemic inequality not just in Scotland, the UK, USA, but globally. The experiences of those racialised by society and the injustice and impact of systemic, institutional and interpersonal racism has become clearer -at least for a moment- to those who do not experience it. There has been an outpouring of statements to support the #BLM movement and although often met with scepticism by those racialised, it does remain an unprecedented moment of global reflection on inequality and in particular on racialised inequity.

This research was undertaken during this time of insight and reflection. The people who participated are entrusting their thoughts and their reliving of traumatic experiences to support the ambition of the national strategy. We thank them all for their expertise, efforts and their trust.

Racism, immigration, mistrust of services and community stigma in relation to mental health, suicide ideation and completion were dominant issues and are the focus of much of the reported findings.

Participants wish to see the implementation of creative, solid, sustainable systemic processes. People, particularly young people who are the demographic change that has already happened in Scotland, want services which understand and respond to their needs as people who have migratory histories, people who face racism and live racialised within society.

Dr Ima Jackson and Judy Wasige



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