Indigenous communities have significantly higher rates of suicide than non-Native communities in North America. Prevention and intervention efforts have failed to redress this disparity. One explanation is that these efforts are culturally incongruent for Native communities. Four prevalent assumptions that underpin professional suicide prevention may conflict with local indigenous understandings about suicide. Our experiences in indigenous communities led us to question assumptions that are routinely endorsed and promoted in suicide prevention programs and interventions. By raising questions about the universal relevance of these assumptions, we hope to stimulate exchange and inquiry into the character of this devastating public health challenge and to aid the development of culturally appropriate interventions in cross-cultural contexts.
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