High rates of suicide among Indigenous youth are not a uniquely Canadian problem. Suicide is the second leading cause of death globally for 15–29 year olds, and among those with the highest rates are Indigenous communities in Australia, New Zealand, Greenland, and the USA.
Inuit are an Indigenous circumpolar people who primarily inhabit four Arctic regions of Canada: Inuvialuit, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and Nunavut. Rates of suicide among Inuit, particularly youth, are elevated across all four regions, with 745 Inuit deaths by suicide between 1999 and 2013.1 Rate of suicide in Nunavik and Nunavut was ten times Canada's national average of 11 per 100 000 population, in that period.
In Nunatsiavut, northern Labrador, the rate was 275 deaths per 100 000 between 2009 and 2013, or 25 times the national suicide rate.
Among Inuit males aged 15–29 years, that rate increases to 40 times the national average in some regions.
Why are young indigenous peoples killing themselves?