• Asian-American women ages 15-24 have the highest suicide rate of women in any race or ethnic group in that age group
• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Asian-American women in that age range
CSU Fullerton professor Eliza Noh, moved by the suicide of her sister, seeks to uncover the reasons behind the alarming suicide rate among Asian American women. "My sister had a really low self-image. She thought of herself as ugly," she says. "We grew up in Houston in the '70s and '80s, and at that time in school there were very few Asian faces. The standard of beauty she wanted to emulate was white women." Noh's sister had surgery to look more European.
The story goes on to discuss the problems of the "model minority" theory and family/cultural pressures on girls. Suicide is a complex issue that leaves those left behind wondering "Why?" Perhaps in Noh's sister's case, you can't underestimate the feeling of self-hatred, which I can relate to as a person of color.
My family was touched by suicide once. I can't remember exactly what year or why, but I remember when and how: Mother's Day with a hair dryer in the tub. We never talked about it then nor have we ever. Maybe that's the problem with suicide is that it's swept under and hidden.
What can we do?