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Breaking the silence of suicide
Date:5/6/2013

This news release is available in French.

Montreal, May 6, 2013 Just over a month ago, a young high school student from Halifax committed suicide after photos of her being raped were posted on the Internet. Her story wasn't just about bullying. It was also about the complex feelings her friends and family faced with her decision to take her own life.

Such a reaction is common to cultures around the word. New research from Concordia University shows that, no matter where it occurs, a veil of shame and sense of taboo surround suicide. These attitudes often force those affected to grieve alone and can produce feelings of helplessness and despair.

Yehudit Silverman, a professor in Concordia University's Department of Creative Arts Therapies, has focused much of her career on the issue of suicide. Having written and directed a film called The Hidden Face of Suicide, Silverman has now published new findings on the cross-cultural commonalities associated with suicide in the peer-reviewed journal, The Arts in Psychotherapy.

The article, co-authored by art therapist, Fiona Smith, and drama therapist, Mary Burns, describes how using the arts can help create dialogue between people from diverse cultural communities, all affected by suicide, so that they may begin to heal and hope. "When a subject is taboo, it important to find ways other than words to express feelings," explains Silverman. "Using the arts can be a powerful means of sharing what feels inexpressible, and helping to break through the silence and stigma which still surrounds suicide"

The results of Silverman's findings are based on an innovative symposium, held in Montreal in June 2010, which brought together people from Inuit, Mohawk, Jewish, Christian, Baha'i, South-Asian Canadian, senior and LGBTQ communities. At the beginning of the symposium, members from
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Contact: Clea Desjardins
clea.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-242-45068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

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