Suicide rates among Turkish-speaking populations in Europe are often higher than the among the general population. For example, young women of Turkish descent in Germany are more than five times more likely to attempt suicide than German native women, with similar figures found in the Netherlands and Switzerland. In the UK, systematic data showing suicide rates in Turkish-speaking populations do not exist as this population is usually classified as “white other ethnic background” in national statistics for suicide and for health services-use. In 2009, 11 men of Turkish and Kurdish background committed suicide in London. Following this, several researchers began investigating the issue. Thus far, a number of sociological, psychological and cultural reasons have been identified as playing a role.
As a means of preventing this, an e-health service for those with suicidal thoughts, adapted specifically for Turkish-speaking communities in the UK and the Netherlands, has been introduced. The e-health service has the advantage of ease and anonymity, allowing users to get around issues such as the barrier of cultural taboo concerning mental health issues.
Özlem Eylem, one of the key figures behind the e-health service, produced an insightful paper exploring the issues of mental health and suicide in Turkish-speaking communities, which can be found here.
CEFTUS will soon be holding an event with Eylem to explore these issues and potential solutions.
The e-health service, Kiyma Canina, can be accessed here: https://www.kiymacanina.org/en/index.php