Westminister Debate: Suicide in Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot Diaspora

  • O. Eylem

Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities


Today exposure to adversity such as long-term armed conflict, displacement and gender-based violence is a common reason for migration to Europe.  It is well-known that the history of continuous exposure to such adversities is linked with common mental disorders (CMDs) (i.e. depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder) and suicide. The main concern is the gap between increased demands for psychological services and access to these services due to scarcity of human resources in the mental health services and cultural and linguistic barriers on the part of the service providers and service-users in the host countries.  Turkish-speaking populations in Europe are one of the migrant communities who are in need of psychological services and have lower up-take of them compared to other migrant communities and native populations in Europe.

One of the main concerning consequences of this gap is the high suicide rates among Turkish-speaking populations in Europe. 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 died by 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 suicide and bridging the gap between this community and psychological services, 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.

CEFTUS is holding an event to explore these issues and novel approaches in mental health system such as e-health and culturally tailored psychotherapy as alternatives to conventional psychological services. The main objectives are: to increase public awareness around these issues and generate discussions for potential solutions for the service-users, service-providers and policy-makers.

Period16 Oct 2017

Media coverage


Media coverage

  • TitlePublic Forum: Suicide in Turkish, Kurdish and Cypriot Diaspora
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media typeWeb
    PersonsO. Eylem