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Punjabi Sikh parents' beliefs about suicide and suicide-related behaviours Gill, Iqbal Kaur

Abstract

This study is the first to describe first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents’ beliefs about suicide and suicide-related behaviours. Through an ethnographic approach the study sought to uncover the parents’ beliefs about the causes and consequences of suicide, reaction and interventions utilized in response to adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours, barriers to seeking mental health services and current help seeking behaviours. Semi structured individual interviews were conducted with four groups of participants: first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents of adolescents, second generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh young adults, South Asian mental health therapists and medical professionals, and a Punjabi Sikh community leader. The findings of the study revealed the believed causes of suicide and suicide-related behaviours to be peer relations, lack of attention from parents, parental pressure to succeed, hormonal changes, and mental illness. Initially parents reported their emotional response to be shock and anger, followed by a range of other emotions. The interventions parents utilize in response to suicide and suicide-related behaviours are the Sikh religion, western health care, communication and monitoring of adolescent behaviour, and alternative healing methods. Barriers to accessing mental health services were identified to be a lack of comprehension of the concept of mental health, awareness of available services, and the Punjabi culture; the Sikh religion was identified not to be a barrier to seeking services. Although the help seeking behaviours of first generation Canadian Punjabi Sikh parents have changed in recent years, further education is needed to raise awareness of adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours. The findings of the study have important implications for the provision of culturally appropriate mental health services for adolescent suicide and suicide-related behaviours.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported

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