From: Free Leonard! Date: 23 Aug 2007, 11:38 AM

repost TY graywolf

—————– Bulletin Message —————–
From: graywolf Date: Aug 23, 2007 1:57 PM


In February 1995, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples released its special report on suicide. Over several years, in 172 days of public hearings in 92 communities across Canada, the Commissioners heard that suicide was one of the most urgent problems facing aboriginal communities. In addition, the Commission in 1993 had held two special consultations on suicide prevention in which national organizations represented aboriginal people. Included were the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Native Council of Canada (now the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples), the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, Pauktuutit (Inuit Women’s Association), and the Metis National Council.


The report points out several problems in using existing data, especially since, for several reasons, they underestimate the total picture. Data collection has focused primarily on registered or status Indians and Inuit living in the Northwest Territories and has excluded non-status Indians, Metis and Inuit living elsewhere. Moreover, it may be difficult to determine whether suicide is the cause of death in certain cases; it has been estimated that up to 25% of accidental deaths among aboriginal people are really unreported suicides.

Although the true rate of suicide was considered to be higher than existing data suggested, the Commission estimated that suicide rates across all age groups of aboriginal people were on average about three times higher than in the non-aboriginal population. The suicide rate was placed at 3.3 times the national average for registered Indians and 3.9 times for Inuit.

Adolescents and young adults were at highest risk. Among aboriginal youth aged 10 to 19 years, the suicide rate was five to six times higher than among their non-aboriginal peers; however, it is in the years between 20 and 29 that both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people showed the highest rates of suicide.


The Commission report identified four groups of major risk factors generally associated with suicide; these were psycho-biological, situational, socio-economic, or caused by culture stress. Culture stress was deemed to be particularly significant for aboriginal people.

While mental disorders and illnesses associated with suicide (such as depression, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia) were documented less often among aboriginal people, community health providers suggested that unresolved grief may be a widespread psycho-biological problem.

Situational factors were considered to be more relevant. The disruptions of family life experienced as a result of enforced attendance at boarding schools, adoption, and fly-out hospitalizations, often for long-term illnesses like tuberculosis, were seen as contributing to suicide. To this was added the increasing use of alcohol and drugs to relieve unhappiness. Studies of aboriginal people who have committed suicide have found that as many as 90% of victims had alcohol in their blood. Brain damage or paranoid psychosis as a result of the chronic use of solvents is reported as a major factor in suicides by youth.

Socio-economic factors, such as high rates of poverty, low levels of education, limited employment opportunities, inadequate housing, and deficiencies in sanitation and water quality, affect a disproportionately high number of aboriginal people. In conditions such as these, people are more likely to develop feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that can lead to suicide.

Culture stress is a term used to refer to the loss of confidence in the ways of understanding life and living that have been taught within a particular culture. It comes about when the complex of relationships, knowledge, languages, social institutions, beliefs, values, and ethical rules that bind a people and give them a collective sense of who they are and where they belong is subjected to change. For aboriginal people, such things as loss of land and control over living conditions, suppression of belief systems and spirituality, weakening of social and political institutions, and racial discrimination have seriously damaged their confidence and thus predisposed them to suicide, self-injury and other self-destructive behaviours.


About kiwihighlander

I was born in New Zealand (Kiwi) I do not necessarily agree with or endorse all of the views presented here. This is a learning curve! I have a wide range of interesting trivia or facts on a variety of topics with-in this blog, also like to show a presentation of some of my photography & art. Hope your day has been kind :-)
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