Note: Excludes persons living on Indian reserves or settlements.
Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 577-0013 – Aboriginal Peoples Survey, perceived mental health and suicidal thoughts, by Aboriginal identity, age group and sex, population aged 18 years and over, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional.
Female indigenous youth are more likely to seriously consider suicide than are males; however, males are more likely to commit suicide than females.
In 2012, 22% of Inuit males aged 18 to 24 years reported that they had seriously considered suicide, as did 26% of females.
Among First Nations, 14% of males aged 18 to 24 years reported that they had seriously considered suicide, compared to 17% of females.
Among Métis, 12% of males aged 18 to 24 years reported that they had seriously considered suicide, compared to 17% of females.
Suicide rates among Inuit youth are among the highest in the world, at 11 times the national average.1 However, not all Indigenous communities experience high rates of suicide. The risk factors for suicide include depression, substance use, history of abuse and knowing others who have killed themselves or attempted suicide. However, for Inuit, and other Indigenous youth, risk factors are also linked to the negative effects of colonization, dispossession, culture loss, and social disconnection.2 Research has found a direct correlation between suicide rates among Indigenous youth and the degree to which the communities in which they lived demonstrated cultural continuity.3
1First Nations and Inuit Health. (2018). Suicide prevention. https://www.canada.ca/en/indigenous-services-canada/services/first-nations-inuit-health/health-promotion/suicide-prevention.html – accessed November 14, 2018.
2(2) Kral, M.J.. (2016). Suicide and suicide prevention among Inuit in Canada. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry Revue Canadienne de Psychiatrie,61(11), 688-695. doi:10.1177/0706743716661329.
3(3) Chandler, M.J., & Lalonde, C. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. Transcultural Psychiatry, 35(2), 191 – 219.