Aboriginal youth suicide in Quebec: The contribution of public policy for prevention


Michel Tousignant, Livia Vitenti, Nathalie Morin.


The high rate of youth suicide in some First Nations villages of Northern Quebec is an important public health problem. Based on a six-year field study in three villages belonging to the Atikamekw and Anishinabe groups, this paper proposes changes in three areas of social policy that could contribute to prevention of youth suicide. These three areas are: youth protection, administration of justice, and housing. An argument is made first to adapt the youth protection law of Quebec and to give greater responsibility to communities in individual cases in order to prevent child placement outside the villages. Regarding the administration of justice, we suggest initiatives to encourage rapid prosecution of crimes on reserves and the adoption of an approach based on reconciliation between perpetrator and victim. Finally, we indicate how housing measures could help safeguard children's wellbeing given that overcrowding can contribute to suicide. The discussion also proposes that these three key changes in social policy could be relevant in other Aboriginal communities both within and outside of Quebec. QUÉBEC CANADA ENFANT ADOLESCENT SUICIDE-COMPLÉTÉ AUTOCHTONE AUTOPSIE-PSYCHOLOGIQUE CULTURE ANTHROPOLOGIE DÉLINQUANCE-JUVÉNILE VIOLENCE FACTEUR-SOCIODÉMOGRAPHIQUE DYNAMIQUE-FAMILIALE COMMUNAUTÉ

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