Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Youth Suicide Scoping Review

Working with the Indigenous and Community Connections Division of Alberta Children’s Services, PolicyWise is examining the knowledge of Indigenous youth suicide in Alberta and Canada. Our scoping review asked: What makes Indigenous youth suicide distinct; what are promising practices for addressing such suicide and what are knowledge gaps around service provision?
This review will inform the development of the Children’s Services-led Indigenous Youth Suicide Prevention Plan.

Review findings include:
• Intergenerational trauma from colonization disrupts a sense of connectivity and belonging for Indigenous youth. Recognizing Indigenous youth as survivors of colonization moves attention from deficit to resilience.
• Indigenous practices, including hunting and language, and inter-generational relationships are significant protective factors. There is a need to
strengthen social environments that reconnect Indigenous youth to community and place.
• Suicide prevention policy and programming must meaningfully involve Indigenous youth and their communities as experts on their own healing and on what they need. Respectful external support of that healing is crucial.

Next Steps
• Focusing on storytelling from elders, youth, community, and service providers to illustrate review findings
• Developing the project findings further
• Sharing what makes Indigenous youth suicide distinct and highlighting promising existing practices for addressing the issue.