Understanding and Preventing Suicide among First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples

The suicide rates for all Aboriginal groups are two to eleven times higher than for other Canadians. Suicide is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal youth. The history of colonization, assimilation policies and trauma has been identified as underlying causes for these high rates.

On Februiary 6th, 2014 the CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre (HPRC) hosted a webinar entitled: “Understanding and Preventing Suicide among First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples.” This webinar examined the impact of the factors contributing to suicide among aboriginal groups through the lens of adverse childhood experiences and social toxicity in order to provide perspective and context. The webinar also discussed and reviewed successful suicide interventions and postventions. This webinar is intended for people who work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in direct care as well as others who have an interest in understanding and preventing suicide among First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.


  • Suicide and self-inflicted injuries are the leading cause of death among First Nations people under age 44.
  • The suicide rate for Inuit people is 6-11 times higher than the national rate, while the the suicide rate for Métis people is two times higher.
  • Schools on-reserve receive one-thrid less funding per student than schools off reserve
  • Funding for schools on reserves has been capped since 1996.
  • Aboriginal women are five to seven times more likely to be victims of violent crime.
  • Aboriginal women are the fastest growing group in the Federal prison system.
  • Forty-five percent of women inmates are Aboriginal and in some jails they are over 90%.
  • Aboriginal people are more than six times more likely to be incarcerated and once incarcerated, more likely to be denied parole.
  • Eighty six percent of American Indian and Alaska Native transgendered people have experienced harassment and bullying at school with 56% experiencing physical assault and 21% experiencing sexual assault.

The webinar discusses current suicide prevention strategies for aboriginal people which focus on the individual, community and society as a whole. They highlight the Blueprint for life program and Hollow Water’s Community Holistic Circle Healing Process, which adresses  sexual abuse through restorative justice.


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