This research study quantifies and describes suicide among South Asian Americans (SAAs), an emerging population that are underrepresented group in suicide research. The purpose of this study was to examine key characteristics of suicide deaths among SAAs. Data were employed from DuPage County, IL, a county with a large SAA population. Following federal recommendations for disaggregating Asian American data at a granular level, four SAA researchers used name recognition to identify all SAA cases classified as suicide in the DuPage County coroner’s database from 2001 to 2017 (N = 38). Coroner’s reports were analyzed for contextual details and correlating factors specific to each suicide. Overall, 76.3% of victims were male and 45.0% were married. An analysis of the coroner reports established that 71.1% of decedents showed behavioral disorders that were predisposing risk factors for suicide including mental health diagnoses (57.9%), and a reported prior suicide attempt (21.1%). Among these decedents only 34.2% had received any prior psychiatric care. Significant errors in racial classification of SAAs, lead to a gross undercount of SAA deaths by suicide with 55% of South Asian suicides assigned to a different race or ethnic group. Future studies must increase the scope of this research to other geographic locations with high concentrations of SAAs and examine the risk factors for suicide among SAAs, one of the fastest growing ethnic populations in the U.S.
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Jha, Aruna; Ahuja, Manik; and Wani, Rajvi J., "Suicide Among South Asians in the United States: A Growing Public Health Problem" (2022). ETSU Faculty Works. 760.
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This article originally appeared in the journal SAGE Open.