Youth and adult community member beliefs about Inupiat youth suicide and its prevention

Lisa Wexler, Brenda Goodwin
2006 International Journal of Circumpolar Health  
Objectives. To better understand youth and adult community members' perceived causes and possible preventative steps to address the high Inupiat youth suicide rates in Northwest Alaska. Study Design. A five-item, open-ended survey focusing on community members' perceptions of suicide causes, warning signs, and protective factors was administered in the twelve Native villages served by the Maniilaq Association, a native non-profit organization. Methods. A total of 382 surveys were completed.
more » ... itative answers were assigned to categories by two reviewers. Main categories are described reflecting the percentages of all response categories and those of youth and adult respondents. To discern whether the difference in proportion between adult and youth respondents was significant, a two-tailed z test was used to compare the two category proportions with their respective sample sizes. Results. The results showed that villagers believe that a community-based approach is most beneficial. Many risk factors for suicide were associated with alienation, and prevention strategies were linked to increased communication and connection with others, their culture and spirituality. The results also show that different perspectives are held by adults and youth. Adult respondents identified boredom as the primary reason for suicide. This-according to adult survey responses-can be addressed through programs offering young people activities, education, and a sense of culture. In contrast, the majority of young people attribute suicide to stress. The young respondents answers highlight the need for adults to talk to them about their everyday lives and their futures so that they receive the guidance and support they need to navigate difficulties that arise. Conclusions. These differing adult and youth conceptions of youth suicide prevention need to be aligned in order to create effective youth suicide prevention strategies for Inupiat and other Native populations. (Int J Circumpolar Health 2006;65(5):xxx-xxx.)
doi:10.3402/ijch.v65i5.18146 pmid:17319089 fatcat:xyv5pfnnvjd4xflawhmglifs24