Suicide Rates in Aboriginal Communities in Labrador, Canada

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Abstract

Objectives

To compare suicide rates in Aboriginal communities in Labrador, including Innu, Inuit, and Southern Inuit, with the general population of Newfoundland, Canada.

Methods

In partnership with Aboriginal governments, we conducted a population-based study to understand patterns of suicide mortality in Labrador. We analyzed suicide mortality data from 1993 to 2009 from the Vital Statistics Death Database. We combined this with community-based methods, including consultations with Elders, youths, mental health and community workers, primary care clinicians, and government decision-makers.

Results

The suicide rate was higher in Labrador than in Newfoundland. This trend persisted across all age groups; however, the disparity was greatest among those aged 10 to 19 years. Males accounted for the majority of deaths, although suicide rates were elevated among females in the Inuit communities. When comparing Aboriginal subregions, the Innu and Inuit communities had the highest age-standardized mortality rates of, respectively, 165.6 and 114.0 suicides per 100 000 person-years.

Conclusions

Suicide disproportionately affects Innu and Inuit populations in Labrador. Suicide rates were high among male youths and Inuit females.

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