Year: 2018 Source: International Journal of Social Psychiatry. (2018). 64(4): 389-395. doi: 10.1177/0020764018766198. SIEC No: 20180347

Suicide is a tremendous public health issue and worldwide the second leading cause of death among young people. In 2015, Greenland had the highest burden of disease due to self-harm with loss of 2,952.97 disability-adjusted life years per 100,000 inhabitants, more than six times as many as Denmark.

What are possible reasons for Greenland’s higher youth suicide rate compared to Denmark, despite being one kingdom of Denmark?

Mixed methods in the form of qualitative, semi-structured interviews, the analysis of available data for 2003-2016 and a literature review were conducted with the aim to answer this question.

Several exposures cause this difference, most significantly adverse effects of the colonial past, such as social issues and experienced traumas in Greenland compared to its former coloniser Denmark.

The ongoing burden of youth suicide in Greenland requires enhanced actions of all stakeholders involved in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention.