Suicide Statistics for Indigenous People
Suicide within the Aboriginal Population
Reprinted from "Aboriginal People" issue of Visions Journal, 2008, 5 (1), pp. 6-7
The loss of human life through suicide is a tragic reality in First Nations and Inuit communities. These two communities experience a much higher suicide rate than the Canadian population as a whole.
Suicide rates among Inuit are shockingly high at six to 11 times the Canadian average. In Nunavut in particular, 27% of all deaths since 1999 have been suicides. This is one of the highest suicide rates in the world, and it continues to rise, especially among youth.
For the First Nations population, suicide rates are twice the national average and show no signs of decreasing. However, these rates differ from community to community. Some communities have had “epidemics” of suicide, while others have had few or no suicides for several years.
In both Aboriginal groups, females attempt suicide more often than males. This trend is also seen in the general Canadian population, but the difference in rates is alarming. While the Canadian average is around 4% of females and 2% of males reporting they’ve attempted suicide, in the Aboriginal survey, it was 19% of females and 13% of males.
Rates of completed suicides, however, are higher among males. And young adults ages 15 to 24 represent the age group with the highest rate of suicides. Completed suicides among First Nation young adults is five to seven times the Canadian average for the same age group.
Youth with a close family member who had committed suicide in the past 12 months, or who had a parent who attended a residential school, were more likely to have experienced suicidal thoughts.