‘‘We are like lemmings’’: making sense of the cultural meaning(s) of suicide among the indigenous Sami in Sweden
AuthorStoor, Jon Petter A; Kaiser, Niclas; Jacobsson, Lars; Renberg, Ellinor Salander; Silviken, Anne
Objective. To explore and make sense of the cultural meaning(s) of suicide among Sami in Sweden.
Design. Open-ended focus group discussions (FGDs) on the topic ‘‘suicide among Sami’’ were carried out in 5 Sami communities in Sweden, with in total 22 strategically selected Sami participants. FGDs were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed through employing content analysis.
Results. From the FGDs 4 themes emerged including ‘‘The Sami are fighting for their culture and the herders are in the middle of the fight,’’ ‘‘Suicide as a consequence of Sami losing (or having lost) their identity,’’ ‘‘A wildfire in the Sami world’’ and ‘‘Difficult to get help as a Sami.’’
Conclusions. Findings indicate that Sami in Sweden make sense of suicide in relation to power and identity within a threatened Sami cultural context. Suicide is then understood as an act that takes place and makes sense to others when a Sami no longer has the power to maintain a Sami identity, resulting in being disconnected from the Sami world and placed in an existential void where suicide is a solution. The findings are useful in development of culturally attuned suicide prevention among Sami in Sweden.