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Can J Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;60(6):268-75.

Suicide Among Inuit: Results From a Large, Epidemiologically Representative Follow-Back Study in Nunavut.

Author information

1
Psychiatrist, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec.
2
Psychiatrist, James McGill Professor, and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec.
3
Psychiatrist and Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences, Thunder Bay, Ontario.
4
Future Fellow, School of Population Health, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
5
Counselling Psychologist, Thompson Rivers University, Aboriginal Education, Kamloops, British Columbia.
6
Psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatry, and Director, McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec; Director, Quebec Network for Suicide, Mood Disorders and Comorbidities, Montreal, Quebec.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The Inuit population in Canada's North has suffered from high rates of death by suicide. We report on the first large-scale, controlled, epidemiologically representative study of deaths by suicide in an Indigenous population, which investigates risk factors for suicide among all Inuit across Nunavut who died by suicide during a 4-year period.

METHODS:

We identified all suicides by Inuit (n = 120) that occurred between January 1, 2003, and December 31, 2006, in Nunavut. For each subject, we selected a community-matched control subject. We used proxy-based procedures and conducted structured interviews with informants to obtain life histories, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Axis I and II diagnoses, and measures of impulsive and (or) aggressive traits.

RESULTS:

Compared with control subjects, subjects who died by suicide were more likely to have experienced childhood abuse (OR 2.38; 95% CI 1.39 to 4.08), have family histories of major depressive disorder (P = 0.002) and suicide completion (P = 0.02), and have been affected by major depressive disorder (OR 13.00; 95% CI 6.20 to 27.25), alcohol dependence (OR 2.90; 95% CI 1.59 to 5.24), or cannabis dependence (OR 3.96; 95% CI 2.29 to 6.8) in the last 6 months. In addition, subjects who died by suicide were more likely to have been affected with cluster B personality disorders (OR 10.18; 95% CI 3.34 to 30.80) and had higher scores of impulsive and aggressive traits (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

At the individual level, clinical risk factors for suicide among Inuit are similar to those observed in studies with the general population, and indicate a need for improved access to mental health services. The high rate of mental health problems among control subjects suggests the need for population-level mental health promotion.

PMID:
26175324
PMCID:
PMC4501584
DOI:
10.1177/070674371506000605
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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