Reclaiming Indigenous Identities: Culture as Strength Against Suicide Among Indigenous Youth in Canada

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Barker B, Goodman A, DeBeck K. Reclaiming Indigenous identities: Culture as strength against suicide among Indigenous youth in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2017 108(2):e208-e210.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.108.5754

Date created: 
2017-02
Keywords: 
Suicide
Health services
Indigenous
Population groups
Adolescent
Abstract: 

In Canada, Indigenous youth suicide represents one of several health disparities burdening Indigenous populations, and like many other of these disparities, can be understood as an expression of societal, historical, cultural and familial trauma. As the number of Indigenous youth who take their own lives every year in Canada continues to far exceed national averages, it appears that conventional suicide prevention efforts remain ineffective among this population. A growing body of research argues that conventional interventions, largely rooted in Western individual-level behavioural change frameworks, are culturally discordant with Indigenous paradigms. In response, some Indigenous communities are turning to cultural revitalization as a holistic community-driven response to suicide prevention and treatment. The following commentary explores the emerging evidence base for "culture as treatment" - a novel approach to suicide that emphasizes the significance of interconnectedness in healing, alongside the revitalization of traditional values to reclaim community wellness. In doing so, we seek to contribute to a changing discourse surrounding Indigenous youth suicide by acknowledging culture as strength against this national crisis.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
Rights: 
Rights remain with the authors.
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