‘Do not crush your life energy’

Jon Sutton reports on a free e-health service for those with suicidal thoughts.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, there are more than 55,000 suicides in the European Union each year, including over 6000 in the UK and Ireland. Research has suggested that suicide rates among Turkish-speaking populations in Europe are higher than the among the general population. Now psychologists have been involved in an international and interdisciplinary effort to launch a free e-health service, Kıyma Canına (www.kiymacanina.org), for those with suicidal thoughts, adapted specifically for Turkish-speaking communities in the UK and the Netherlands.

The founder of the project, clinical psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society Özlem Eylem, told us that ‘in the help-seeking process for suicide, feelings of shame and the stigma associated with suicide are identified as major barriers limiting Turkish migrants’ access to their formal and informal networks to seek help’. The course, designed by experts in Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Queen Mary University of London, aims to tackle this via six weekly online sessions focusing on describing, understanding and identifying negative automatic thoughts and replacing them with more adaptive ones.

Psychologist Inci Tebiş Picard told us that can stands for life energy and kıymak is a process of producing minced meat or cutting objects into small pieces. ‘This is commonly used among laypeople to talk about suicide. So kıyma canına means “do not crush your life energy”.’ She added: ‘Participants learn to gain control over and reduce their suicidal thoughts. Attention is also given to self-harm, emotion regulation, future perspectives and self-esteem. We’ve had good results so far in our trials, published in PLOS One… although effect sizes weren’t large, the reach of the internet could enable this intervention to help many people reduce their suicidal thoughts.’ 

- Find more in our archive on suicide.

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