Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 819–827 | Cite as

An Investigation into Suicides Among Bhutanese Refugees Resettled in the United States Between 2008 and 2011

  • Ashley K. Hagaman
  • Teresa I. Sivilli
  • Trong Ao
  • Curtis Blanton
  • Heidi Ellis
  • Barbara Lopes Cardozo
  • Sharmila Shetty
Original Paper


An increase of Bhutanese refugee suicides were reported in the US between 2009 and 2012. This investigation examined these reported suicides in depth to gain a better understanding of factors associated with suicide within this population. The study employed 14 psychological autopsies to elicit underlying motivations and circumstances for self-inflicted death and to identify potential future avenues for prevention and intervention among refugee communities. Disappointment with current (un)employment, lack of resettlement services and social support, and frustrations with separation from family were believed to contribute to suicidal acts. Suicide within refugee populations may be connected with experiences of family withdrawal, integration difficulties, and perceived lack of care. It is important to assess the effectiveness of improving refugee services on the mental health of migrants. More research is needed in order to better understand, and respond to, suicide in resettled populations.


Suicide Refugee Psychological autopsy Mental health 



The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (Outside USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashley K. Hagaman
    • 1
  • Teresa I. Sivilli
    • 2
  • Trong Ao
    • 3
  • Curtis Blanton
    • 4
  • Heidi Ellis
    • 5
  • Barbara Lopes Cardozo
    • 4
  • Sharmila Shetty
    • 6
  1. 1.School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  2. 2.Garrison InstituteGarrisonUSA
  3. 3.Center for Global Health, Division of Global Health Protection, Global Disease Detection BranchCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Division of Global Health Protection, Emergency Response and Recovery BranchCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryBoston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.Division of Global Migration and Quarantine Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Immigrant Refugee and Migrant Health BranchCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA

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