7.5.2 Social support* among First Nations youth aged 12 to 17 years, Canada, 2013-2015

High Moderate Low
Level of social support 36.5 61.9 1.6

*Social support is a composite measure that includes whether youth have people in their lives who they can: talk to about problems, turn to for advice, or help them in times of trouble and to feel safe.
The youth survey covered First Nations youth aged 12-17 years and therefore represents a large proportion of the school-aged population living on reserve and in northern First Nations communities.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from the First Nations Information Governance Centre, Our Data, Our Stories, Our Future: The National Report of the First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey, (Ottawa: 2016). 104 pages.

Between 2013-2015, 37% of First Nations youth aged 12 to 17 years living on reserve or in northern First Nations communities reported high levels of social support.

A further 62% reported moderate levels of social support.

Social support, or the caring and respect that young people experience in their social relationships, contributes to a sense of satisfaction and well-being which protects against health problems.1

Social support influences healthy behaviours, for example, the ability to cope with stress and adversity, and individuals’ motivations to achieve their goals. Social support can be an important source of strength and resilience for Indigenous youth. It contributes to all aspects of health, including physical, emotional and mental health. It has been shown to affect mortality, the development of cardiovascular diseases, and the quality of life of individuals living with chronic diseases, injuries or disabilities. It encourages individuals to engage in healthy behaviours, including adhering to lengthy and difficult medical treatments, and, adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. It plays an especially important role in managing mental health or substance use problems.2

1Richmond, C.A.M., Ross, N.A., & Egeland, G.M. (2007). Social support and thriving health: A new approach to understanding the health of Indigenous Canadians. American Journal of Public Health,97(10),1827-1833. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2006.096917.
2Reblin, M., & Uchino, B.N. (2008). Social and emotional support and its implication for health. Current Opinions in Psychiatry, 21(2), 201-205.