Higher suicide rates among Canada’s Indigenous peoples
Suicide is an important public health problem in Canada, but nowhere is this problem as striking and extreme as it is among Indigenous Canadians. Though suicide completion rates vary widely across communities and regions, rates in Indigenous communities are almost ten times the national average.
A lack of evidence-based knowledge
We still lack an appropriate understanding of the factors contributing to the high rates of suicide in Indigenous populations. In particular, it is unclear whether risk factors known to contribute to suicide (such as lack of family and community support systems, poverty, psychiatric symptoms, personality traits and other heritable factors) play the same roles in Indigenous populations. Moreover, there is a relative paucity of data addressing the processes and resources important to survival and the factors associated with the development of suicide resilience. Without such evidence-based knowledge, it is difficult to develop and implement suicide prevention programs that will effectively address suicide in Indigenous populations.