There’re many stories from refugees that inspire hope: ORR


After a bout of suicides taking toll in the resettled Bhutanese community, there has been a talk about how the escalating rate of suicide could be prevented with the increasing role of community organizations and volunteers. In the process of seeking success stories as an attempt to ameliorate the trend, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has begun to document the success stories within the community as motivational campaign to stop further suicides. An onsite filming of the video took place in Philadelphia to begin with the project. In an email response to the questions sent to Bhutan News Service, ORR, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, clarified more about the project. Here are the excerpts:

Despite some sporadic efforts to prevent suicide, it is rising. Why does ORR consider videos as another alternative to the solution? 
The video project is one resource among many that ORR and others are using to promote emotional wellness and suicide prevention.  Since we started the project we have heard of other community organizations who are using stories to communicate a message of hope and wellness.

Let's stop suicide: A thematic poster on suicide prevention circulated by BNS in collaboration with artist Kiren Pele
Let’s stop suicide: A thematic poster on suicide prevention circulated by BNS in collaboration with artist Kiren Pele, Rochester, NY

Can ORR explains how this project will go about? What stories are expected to be represented in the video project? 
The stories will be representative of the community and include younger, middle aged and older members, both males and females, and people from different social groups.

What kind of success stories from other communities will help to build hope and resilience in the Bhutanese community? Will the project include such stories? 
There are certainly many stories from other refugee communities that inspire hope.  However, for this project we decided to focus on stories within the Bhutanese community.

 What media does ORR think shall be more effective in reaching the videos to a likely target family or a vulnerable individual?
Any national broadcasters to carry this message? We are working primarily with Bhutanese community-based organizations and service providers working with Bhutanese refugees to spread the word.  In addition, organizations such as the Bhutan News Service will be a great help in reaching the target audience.

How long has ORR considered this video project and who are the partners in this project? 
ORR started planning for a video to address emotional wellness and suicide prevention in the fall of 2013.  Partner organizations include several Bhutanese community based organizations around the U.S., in particular the Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia, which host the on-site filming portion.  Other partner organizations include Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Pathways to Wellness, and the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma,

 What are the expectations as an outcome of sharing hope stories through video? And what time frame? 
The video will be finalized by the fall of 2014 and will be made available for community-based organizations, resettlement agencies, and other service providers to share with Bhutanese refugees.  The expectation is that by listening to stories of other people who have overcome emotionally difficult experiences, vulnerable individuals will be encouraged to persevere and maintain a sense of hope.