Suicide and self-harm is the leading cause of death for indigenous Canadians up to the age of 44. Deprivation and despair lie behind this epidemic. First Nations communities total 1.4 million people – just under 4.3% of Canada’s population. Sheila North Wilson, grand chief and representative of more than 75,000 indigenous people living across northern Canada explained “The communities I represent are living in abject poverty. My people are the poorest in this country, and that’s not right.” https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/our-society-is-broken-what-can-stop-canadas-first-nations-suicide-epidemic
The suicide epidemic affecting First Nations communities across Canada has been a national crisis for decades, but it attracted international headlines after three indigenous communities were moved to declare a state of emergency in response to a series of deaths.
Katrina, 16, lives on a reserve in central British Columbia with her family. She recently confided to a counsellor that she had contemplated suicide, and had even made a detailed plan on how she was going to carry it out.
“I felt like I had no other option; I felt hopeless,” Katrina recalls, adding that the stigma attached to being an aboriginal youth played a huge role in her contemplating suicide. “People call us freeloaders. They call us dirty Indians. I am judged because of my culture and heritage.” Accounts of such prejudice are prevalent across the country.
For further information see Indigenous Suicides