Year: 2021 Source: Ottawa, ON: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction. (2021). 74 p. SIEC No: 20210857

Key Messages
• The risk of suicide is elevated among northern Inuit communities in Canada because of intergenerational trauma from colonization, marginalization and the loss of the traditional Inuit lifestyle. This trauma has created social and economic inequities among Inuit communities.
• Mental distress, including problematic substance use, mental health disorders and self-harm, are important risk factors for suicide among Inuit. These risk factors are often downstream symptoms of social, cultural and economic disruption.
• Statistics on substance use patterns, mental health and the social determinants of health among Inuit populations are important for informing suicide prevention activities. Collecting  these data is part of the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy developed and led by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
• Given the high prevalence of non-medical cannabis use among Inuit, more research is needed on the impacts of cannabis use on mental health and other health-related outcomes.
• Improving research and data collection on factors related to suicide among Inuit is needed for suicide surveillance and prevention. These efforts are consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which underscores the need for population health data for Inuit.
• Improving the social determinants of health, including housing, education and access to culturally safe health care, is integral for mental well-being and suicide prevention at the population level.