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Suicide and Culture — Arts, Religion and Social Justice: Interview with Dr. Erminia Colucci | Episode 44

In the United States our suicide rates are going up, but in much of the world, the suicide rates are going down. In this interview I speak with the world renowned Erminia Colucci to discuss the Anglo perspective of a highly medicalized perspective of suicide and contrast that with an understanding of suicide in a larger context. In her view, we must situate suicide prevention within a social, cultural and political context to be effective. She is part of a group of “Critical Suicidologists” who are challenging some of the “truths” we have accepted within the suicide prevention field. As an activist researcher she wants to engage with the community and helps us better to understand the root causes of inequality, oppression, violence and related conditions of human suffering.

Erminia and I have this conversation at the World Congress for Suicide Prevention in Derry, Ireland. We are sitting in an art studio in the Playhouse for this conversation, and explore a ‘different way’ to help people on their darkest day.

Take aways:
Suicide needs to be seen in a larger context within the cultures people belong to

We need to break the silence in some areas of understanding suicide like social justice

By exploring alternative methods that work for people, like the arts, faith, and others, we can make a difference to alleviate suffering and prevent suicide.

About Dr. Erminia Colucci
Erminia Colucci
Erminia Colucci is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University London (UK), however she has lectured and conducted research all over the4 world including Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and in her home country of Italy. In 2015 she was awarded the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s award for innovative research among young researchers. The focus of her research is on on the cultural implications of suicide on mental health and suicide with a focus on low-middle income countries and immigrant and refugee populations. Her key interests are human rights and mental health, suicide and suicide prevention, domestic violence against women and children, child neglect/exploitation, spirituality and faith-based and spiritual/traditional healing, and first-hand stories of people with lived-experience of ‘mental illness’ and suicidal behavior. Erminia is passionate about using arts-based and visual methods, particularly photography and ethnographic film-documentary, in her research, teaching and advocacy activities. Erminia is the chair of the International Association for Suicide Prevention SIG in Culture and Suicidal Behaviour, Chair of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry SIG on Arts, Media and Mental Health and founder of Movie-ment ( and Aperture, the first Asia-Pacific ethnographic documentary festival. For more information on this episode go to

#blacklivesmatter, black, black lives, Black Lives Matter, black vs white, BLM, civil rights, colorism, community, coping, coping skills, Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas, empowerment, hope, Juneteenth, Junteenth, life skills, mental health, mental illness, mental wellness, Minorities, new beginnings, race, Racial Equality, Racial Inequality, Racial issues, Racism, recovery, resilience, self-care, Self-compassion, Self-empowerment, Slavery, Social Change, social justice, suicide, suicide awareness, suicide prevention, system racism, Systemic Racism, white privilege


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