Coming together in pain and joy: A multicultural and arts-based suicide awareness project

Yehudit Silverman
Fiona Smith
Mary Burns

The issue of suicide is still taboo in many cultures and the silence surrounding this problem is often destructive. Those affected by suicide have few opportunities to express their pain and their communities are left feeling helpless. The creative arts therapies have been used to address the emotions surrounding suicide, however few projects have studied the use of the arts to promote suicide awareness. Furthermore, there is a lack of multicultural research in this area. This article describes a two-day arts-based symposium that brought together members from diverse cultural communities including Inuit, Mohawk, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i, South-Asian Canadian, Senior and LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-gendered, Queer) communities. Through drama, music, art-making and writing, participants explored this difficult subject, expressed complex feelings and shared their perspectives. An instrumental case study design was employed for this research project. The objectives were to gather information on participants’ experience of exploring the issue of suicide within an arts-based approach and to determine if cross-cultural themes would emerge. The findings indicate that using the arts helped to facilitate dialogue and communication and specific cross-cultural themes did emerge.

Resource/Research Type:
Document Details:
Author: Yehudit Silverman, Fiona Smith, Mary Burns
Journal: The Arts in Psychotherapy
Volume: 40
Issue: 2
Pages: 216-223
Publisher Details:
Publisher Year: 2013
Publisher Month: 4
Audio/Video Details:
Medical Conditions: Mental Health
Peer Reviewed Article: Peer Reviewed