After waiting years to be resettled in the U.S., many young Bhutanese adults find a mismatch between the dream and the reality. Some in the community are taking their own lives as a result, campaigners say.
A report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a federal U.S. government agency, published in Oct. 2012, stated that in the three years to Feb. 2012, the rate of suicides among Bhutanese refugees resettled in America was 20.3 per 100,000 people.
This rate was almost double that among the U.S. general population and exceeded the global suicide rate of 16.0 per 100,000, according to figures from the World Health Organization.
However, it was similar to rates of suicide experienced by Bhutanese refugees in camps before they relocated, the study found.
“Different psychological stressors occur at each stage of the resettlement process,” the study said. Once refugees are relocated, factors such as inability to find work, increased family conflict and symptoms of anxiety, depression and psychological distress are associated with suicidal thoughts, it added.
After resettlement, many young Bhutanese adults seem to find a mismatch between their idea of the American dream and the availability of work and quality of pay in the U.S.
Those working with the Bhutanese community in America say there is a lack of support and provision to deal with the problem.
“Although suicide among the Bhutanese seems like an issue that needs attention, the community does not have the expertise to address it,” said Aaron Acharya, executive director of the Association of Bhutanese in America, Inc., a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit.