Suicide Among South Asian Youth in America

  • Neha SharmaEmail author
  • Deepika Shaligram


Asian Americans are the fastest growing minority population in the United States (US). South Asians (SA) comprising Bangladeshis, Burmese, Indians, Nepalis, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans form the third largest subgroup of Asians in America. SA children are raised with values of respecting elders, obedience to parental authority, and prioritizing the family’s needs over the individual’s. This upbringing, in conjunction with acculturation stress, intergenerational conflict experiences of racial discrimination, and stigma surrounding mental health treatment, likely plays a role in placing SA American youth at increased risk for suicidal ideation and behavior. The scope of the problem is difficult to determine as research studies so far have tended to focus on Asian Americans as a group with few studies focusing on SA in particular. However, the experiences of SA Americans as a group are worth examining as there are differences in culture of origin, immigration history, and phenotypic differences, to name a few, that set them apart from the larger Asian American community. The following chapter aims to discuss the interplay of the history and experiences of SA Americans with mental health. It offers a culturally informed perspective on symptom presentations and approach to treatment interventions.


Suicide South Asian youth Asian immigrants South Asian mental health Asian acculturation Racial discrimination First-generation South Asians Second-generation South Asians 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryTufts University School of Medicine, Tufts Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child PsychiatryCambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUSA

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