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Adoptee Mental Health and Suicide: What’s the Connection?

In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10), KAAN would like to share this video “Adoptee Mental Health and Suicide: What’s the Connection,” which was presented by Nicole Sheppard as the opening keynote address at #KAAN2018.

Nicole Sheppard, #KAAN2018

Did you know that US adolescent adoptees are four times more likely than non-adoptees to attempt suicide? Sheppard works as part of the Korean Adoptee Mental Health and Suicide Project, which was created in response to unaddressed suicide issues within the Korean adoptee community. The project has worked to identify risk factors, raise awareness, increase both community support and resources, and reduce the number of deaths through prevention.

Through focus groups gathered in September 2016, the project found three key themes among those surveyed:

  1. “lacking a sense of belonging, role models who share looks and similar experiences”

  2. “conflicting messages about love/adoption = separation”

  3. “difficult/confusing feelings/behaviors related to unacknowledged grief, loss, and trauma”

Learn more about this project and connection between adoption and suicide by watching to Sheppard’s keynote address on KAAN’s YouTube channel at


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