ORR moderates conference on suicide of Bhutanese in US


The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) moderated a conference call, Saturday, at 3pm EST (USA) with the concerned stakeholders and Bhutanese community representatives resettled across the United States of America.

By the conference call, it is primarily aimed at listening to the community members’ comments and suggestions on the issue of increasing suicidal cases among the Bhutanese who are resettled in the US.

The conference was organized to four domains of discussion- culture and religion, gender difference, impact of community leaders, social media as way to communicate about suicide. The discussion focused on the root causes and the role played or could be played by community workers and volunteers to prevent the suicides.

Most of the participants revolved their suggestions and comments around the need to capacity building of community workers by means of training on mental health, identifying the vulnerable individuals, resource mobilization for the community organizations to work towards prevention and need for effective communication with the social workers and immediate family members or relatives.

Managing emotional stress is what clearly seems to be lacking among the Bhutanese after resettlement, identified one participant.

“The background of living in a refugee camp for long time and the society being male dominated has led to many females come to the US with the same vulnerable position,” said a female participant.

“The stereotype against female has still led to domestic violence, causing suicide of females more than man,” she added.

Diagnosis of the root causes of suicidal thoughts among Bhutanese in US is important step towards awareness to prevent the suicides, said Yam Kharel. “So it is necessary to develop those materials in print and audio-visual that can be used to inform people during orientations in US and host country.”

The unnatural increase of suicides among the Bhutanese people in the US has drawn sufficient attention of all concerned agencies, including ORR.

An investigative report on the study of suicide cases was published on October 2012, involving community workers and medical professionals by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The document was widely circulated among the community volunteers and resettlement agencies. Four fresh suicides are committed after the report was published taking the number to 20.

The conference call lasted for an hour and half. The Director of ORR who identified some key points raised during conference to be used for recommendations made the concluding remarks.


  1. When there is a problem talk about it. Discuss and debate in groups and in public. Work with grass root levels. Observe, identify symptoms, use professionals, develop action plans and execute the plan in achievable units.

    I think you folks have started just that. CONGRATULATION and keep it going! Don’t lose the focus and work for the issue that you have raised. You will not prevent all but you will save many lives and prevent many sufferings.

  2. It has already being late for organising the event among the community. Most of the Resettlement agencies are focuisng on resettling the refugee no matter where they are, what their wants and safetyness. In my opinion, Most of the suicidal cases are related job related, familly grosses and lack of communication.
    We dont see any resettlement agencies proritising the area for veneral group. The main objectives is only to look the people only during the first 4-6 months. Then after they leave them without any destination. They have creat an environment atlest in their own office to establish their common plateform to express their feeling and understanding their probems and look for the appropriate solution. It is not just providing a job for one member that is beyound their reach. The job never end…………..It has to keep on going