Mixed Heritage in Scotland

“Suicide Cultures” is a research project exploring the diverse expressions and understandings of suicide across Scotland.

You are invited to take part in a PhD research study by Emily Hue. Emily Hue’s PhD project is looking specifically at suicide among people with mixed heritage in Scotland. Research suggests that suicide rates are disproportionately high among people with mixed heritage in the United Kingdom. As someone bereaved by suicide, I understand that suicide can be difficult to make sense of, but I hope that by meeting multiple times (if you can and want to) the project will offer the opportunity for people to talk and share views in a supportive environment.

The information here is to help you decide whether you would like to take part in the research, and what taking part will involve. Please take your time to read the following information carefully and feel free to discuss it with others if you wish. Ask Emily if there is anything that is not clear, or if you would like more information. Her contact information is at the end of this information.

About me

My name is Emily Yue. I was born in England and my dad’s dad (my paternal grandfather) was born on the East coast of China and settled in Liverpool after the second world war. My dad and his brother both died by suicide in their fifties. This inspired my interest in researching suicide among second-generation “migrants”/”mixed ethnicity” Brits (like my father and my uncle).

Who can take part?

I am interested in hearing from people with mixed heritage, who were born in the UK and living in Scotland.

In addition, you will have lived experience of suicide. While my experience of suicide is by bereavement (my father died by suicide), for this project I am interested in meeting people who live with suicide: have attempted or at some point thought about suicide. Please get in touch if you would like to check whether you meet this criteria.

What will taking part involve?

Meeting me, either online or in person, to talk about yourself and your stories of growing up “mixed” in Britain/Scotland, and how this might contribute to your relationship with suicide. Interviews will last between 1 and 2 hours and we will ideally meet at least twice. I am interested in your experiences of living in Britain (specifically Scotland), especially your experiences of growing up.

There are no right or wrong answers

I want to learn from you. Therefore I will be keen to get your feedback on how I have interpreted your stories, and give you the option to co-own or co-author the chapter we write (I will do the typing!).

When I have finished writing up, I would love to share the work we have produced together with you.

Recording discussions

With your permission, I would like to (audio) record our meetings/interviews. This is to help me remember what we discuss and so that I can concentrate on you rather than rushing to take accurate notes.

From the summaries I write based on these recordings, I hope that I can share your perspectives on living with suicide in Scotland.

Confidentiality and privacy

I want to give you the option to be named or anonymised in the research.

Often in research like this, people remain anonymous.

Reasons can include the stigma surrounding suicide, and the precarity of citizenship with British government’s stripping rights of citizens with family histories of migration.

However, this research aims to open up conversations about suicide beyond being caused by an internal mental illness and through this to challenge the multiple stigmas around both suicide and migration, from the perspectives of “mixed” Brits with experience of living with suicide in Scotland.

However, this research aims to open up conversations about suicide beyond being caused by an internal mental illness and through this to challenge the multiple stigmas around both suicide and migration, from the perspectives of “mixed” Brits with experience of living with suicide in Scotland.

If you choose to be anonymous, everything you tell me during our research interviews will be kept confidential. Although I will write about the stories you tell me, it will be difficult – or impossible – for others to know that it is you. You should be aware though that in studies like this where the focus is on stories, it may still be possible for others to recognise you, if you share stories that you also tell others.

I would only have to break the confidentiality of our research interviews in some unlikely – but possible – circumstances:

  • If you tell me about imminent and severe harm to yourself (such as a planned suicide attempt)
  • If you tell me about ongoing harm to a child or vulnerable adult.

In each case, I would let you know first, and we would work together to decide on who would be the best person to tell.

What are the benefits and risks of taking part?

I hope that taking part in this research will be a nourishing opportunity for you to share your stories, in the hope that they will resonate with others who experience or live with suicide and are searching for understandings that take them seriously.

Producing a counter-archive of suicide knowledge holds the potential to contribute as evidence in generating change via policy and knowledge dissemination.

It is possible that taking part in these discussions could be upsetting or cause you and me distress. Suicide can be an emotional topic, and our discussions could touch on issues that are difficult for you.

To help address this possibility, I remind you that:

  • You can stop taking part whenever you want
  • You can pause your participation whenever you like. You may choose to take a long break, or leave a session early, and return at a later point.

If issues are raised that are particularly difficult, I will work with you to identify sources of further support. I am not able to offer formal counselling or professional support, but I will be listening, and alternatively can put you in touch with professional resources. At the beginning of the research we can discuss some of the things we can put in place to maintain your wellbeing during and after the research.

What will happen to the results of the research

I will write about the results we produce together in online blogs; in longer pieces of writing for academic journals or books and for my PhD (a book-length document that will be published and freely available online). Your name and identity will only be in the work if you explicitly tell me to include it: otherwise I will use the pseudonym you choose.

I may also talk about the stories you share in presentations at conferences, and events for the general public. Whether shared with academics, practitioners and policy makers, or the general public, your stories can help to inform people about different ways of thinking about suicide. We will hold an end of project launch event in Edinburgh, with you and the other participants (attendance optional), to share our work.

For further information

If you would like to find out more about the study, or are interested in taking part, please contact Emily by email, or by phone:

Complaints or concerns

If you have any complaints or concerns about this project, please contact Professor Matthias Schwannauer, Head of School, School of Health in Social Sciences, University of EdinburghTel: +44 (0)131 651 3954       Email: m.schwannauer@ed.ac.uk

For support:

  • Feniks is an Edinburgh-based charity offering support – including counselling – to the Central Eastern European community in Edinburgh +44 (0)7510 122 425
  • Edinburgh Crisis Centre offers 24/7 support on freephone 0808 801 0414
  • Samaritans is a nationwide charity offering support for emotional distress 24/7. Call 116123.Emily Yue, Health in Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Supervised by Amy Chandler and Sumeet Jain.

Emily Yue, Health in Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Supervised by Amy Chandler and Sumeet Jain.