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A Brief But Spectacular take on cross-cultural suicide prevention research


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

John Yang: Amelia Noor-Oshiro describes herself in many ways a muslim woman, an educator and activist and a suicide survivor. Through her advocacy work, she is using science and research to help others who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Tonight, she shares her brief but spectacular take on cross-cultural suicide prevention research.

Amelia Noor-Oshiro: Being a survivor of suicide attempts is not just like this final occasion, where from then on, you're no longer suicidal. It is, for me, definitely this active decision every single day to wake up and choose life. My experience was sort of just a really deep sense of hopelessness. I was definitely actively suicidal during grad school for about three years. One of my first out of multiple suicide attempts was postpartum. When I had my first daughter back in 2015, I had subsequent attempts which actually got me hospitalized. I had two involuntary hospitalizations. I became so hopeless about my own survival that it made more sense to just end the suffering and not continue. From my perspective, as someone who kind of straddled both American identity and Muslim identity and of course, my ethnic background being South Asian. It was quite confusing to kind of conceptualize suicide. It almost seemed like a foreign concept, almost as if, you know, Muslims aren't impacted by suicide, so why discuss it? I didn't actually speak up necessarily about my mental health to my mom. It's as if you would be offending the culture almost. It would be considered sort of a direct attack to how much effort she has put into taking care of me. I knew I couldn't be the only one. I knew. This was a more universal experience than we're realizing, and I knew that I would have to try and bring my own lived experience as a survivor and eventually come out as a survivor in order to move the needle scientifically and politically and socially. I chose to be a scholar activist, someone who does research because I believe that if we get scientific representation about the issues that we're facing, if we can get data, if we can get numbers and numbers don't lie, if we can get epidemiological evidence of how much we are suffering as a muslim community, then we can get political representation. So in my mind, scientific representation equals political representation. I have two kids. I have a seven year old and an almost two year old. I truly believe that if we are to be effective as parents and if we want to heal and not pass on this intergenerational trauma that we've come from, that our parents have come from, that our ancestors have held in their bodies, then we have to do the work. My name is Amelia Nora Schiro, and this is my brief but spectacular take on cross-cultural suicide prevention research.

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