Suicide in the Northwest Territories: A Descriptive Review
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The incidence of suicide among the populations of the Northwest Territories (NWT) is notably higher than in the rest of Canada. A comparison of three five-year time periods between 1982 and 1996 reveals an increasing incidence rate, particularly for Nunavat, the eastern half of the NWT, occupied primarily by Inuit people. This is largely attributable to a rising use of hanging as opposed to other methods of suicide. A coroner’s record review of suicides occurring between 1994 and 1996 demonstrates the preponderance of young males and of Inuit among those who committed suicide, the majority of whom committed suicide in familiar settings, usually their own homes, and often while others were on the premises. Thirty-six percent of those who committed suicide had experienced a recent family or relationship breakup, and twenty-one percent were facing criminal proceedings. Understanding the impact of these and other reported circumstances on the imminent risk of suicide requires further investigation.