Suicide In Aboriginal Community

Superior Essays
Suicide is a major health issue in Canada, especially in Aboriginal youth as demonstrated by the Attawapiskat suicide crisis in April 2015 where 11 youths attempted suicide (Dyer, 2016). Indigenous populations are one of the most at risk groups for suicide with suicide rates being at least 2 times higher than Canada’s general population (Dyer, 2016). The high suicidality, the likelihood someone will commit suicide, in Indigenous populations can be fundamentally attributed to the legacy of residential school and the methodical assimilation of Aboriginals through mandatory attendance. The residential school legacy contains sexual, physical, and emotional abuse towards Indigenous children and a radical loss of Indigenous culture. This essay will …show more content…
A survey done by Kral, Idlout, Minore, Dyck and Kirmayer (2014) in two Inuit communities uncovered what the communities identified as reasons for the high suicide rates. Although the Inuit are a specific group of Indigenous people, Kahn (1982) identified cultural loss being a community-level risk factor for suicide in all Indigenous groups. Common themes which emerged in Kral et al. (2014)’s discussions with Inuit respondents were the lack of having someone to talk to and being lonely, moreover suicide was viewed as expressing anger in the community. Family problems are prevalent in Indigenous communities, these problems stem from changes in communication, parenting and intergenerational relations, which prompt feelings of loneliness (Kral et al. 2014). In addition, multigenerational trauma is detrimental to individuals and communities; adults who attended residential schools are reported to resort to alcohol and substance abuse to cope (Kral et al. 2014), consequently their family life suffers as these individuals are unable to properly function due to trauma and subsequent coping means. Likewise, parents and youth tend to avoid each other due to these negative interactions; cultural loss eliminates traditional activities and practices which originally encouraged family and community cohesion. Decreasing cohesion leads to divided and disordered communities deficient in social support (Dyer, 2016). Overall, a lack of social support in both families and communities’ induces notions of loneliness and high rates of suicide in Indigenous populations. Importantly, the degradation of social support originated in the legacy of residential schools and systemic assimilation resulting in cultural loss of Aboriginal

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