Series of paintings of person with head covered by blue sheet - hands tearing at sheet
Still Here opens participant pool again

Still Here widens participant pool

17 Aug 2017

Still Here is an ongoing art and research project aimed at breaking the silence and stimulating conversation about the issue of suicide. The team, led by Dr. Olivier Ferlatte, works with queer people affected by suicide to take photographs that encourage them to share their experiences and stories. Their work has been showcased in exhibits, presentations, community forums and online exhibitions, which provide spaces and inspiration for people to share their own stories and to discuss prevention.

The ongoing study began with gay men who have experienced suicidality. The project has now received additional funding from CANFAR to open the study to additional participants. Participants will be eligible if they are 19 years old and older, identify as GBMSM, are HIV positive, speak and comprehend English, and reside in British Columbia. Eligible participants will have previously experienced suicidality since receiving their HIV diagnosis.

Congratulations to the team on receiving additional funding to expand and continue this valuable qualitative research.


Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men living with HIV (GBMSM-LWH) are at a higher risk of suicide. A recent Canadian investigation found that nearly one in 20 attempted suicide in the previous year, a rate 1.5 times higher than HIV negative GBMSM and over 12 times the rate reported among the general population of Canadian men.  Suicide is preventable, however to intervene effectively, we need to know “to whom”, “where” and “how”. While researchers have illuminated the disparity of suicide among GBMSM-LWH, the factors and mechanisms that sustain these prevailing trends are poorly understood. As a result, the development and implementation of targeted prevention interventions and services are lacking for this vulnerable sub-population.

The overarching goal of this research project is to inform suicide prevention efforts for GMSM-LWH. To achieve this goal the following research questions will be addressed:

  • What factors contribute to GBMSM-LWH vulnerability to suicide;
  • How do GBMSM-LWH manage their suicidality;
  • What are the barriers and facilitators among GBMSM-LWH for accessing mental health services; and
  • What specific recommendations do GBMSM-LWH have for suicide prevention programs targeting their community.

The proposed study offers a unique opportunity to garner understandings about suicidality among GBMSM-LWH. Considering the lack of data, particularly the absence of national and international qualitative data addressing this issue, the results have the potential to impact far beyond British Columbia and Canada whilst advancing theory and methods in regards to  suicidality and photovoice among GBMSM-LWH. Ultimately the results of this investigation will mobilize efforts to develop and improve culturally appropriate interventions and clinical care for this vulnerable sub-population.