Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada

In recent years, Aboriginal people in Canada have suffered from much higher rates of suicide than the general population. The overall Canadian rate has declined, while in some Aboriginal communities and populations, rates have continued to rise for the last two decades. Although there are enormous variations across communities, bands, and nations, the overall suicide rate among First Nation communities is about twice that of the total Canadian population; the rate among Inuit is still higher—6 to 11 times higher than the general population. For Aboriginal people, suicide is an affliction of the young. From the ages of 10 to 29, Aboriginal youth on reserves are 5 to 6 times more likely to die of suicide than their peers in the general population. Over a third of all deaths among Aboriginal youth are attributable to suicide. Although the gender difference is smaller than among the non-Aboriginal population, males are more likely to die by suicide, while females make attempts more often. Despite widespread concern about these alarming statistics, there continues to be a lack of information on Aboriginal suicide, its origins, and effective interventions.