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How Does Cultural Continuity Play a Role in Youth Suicide Rates among Indigenous People in Canada? Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2022

Canada significantly suffers from high youth suicide rates among Indigenous people. The Western approach of conventional interventions seems insufficient because multiple young individuals tend to take their own lives irrespective of attempts to have psychotherapies to promote individual-level behavioral changes. This information indicates that it is reasonable to apply a different strategy within the Canadian context. That is why the given research paper will comment on what role cultural continuity plays in addressing the problem under consideration.

To begin with, one should explain what cultural continuity is. Chandler and Lalonde (1998) clarify that this term refers to having some beliefs and qualities that allow a person to have future commitments. In turn, they ensure that a person takes adequate care of themselves and draws attention to their well-being. When an individual experiences some personal or cultural changes, they tend to ignore these future commitments. That is why Chandler and Lalonde (1998) claim that Indigenous adolescents in Canada are at high risk of committing suicide since they lack cultural continuity. It means that the term can be used to explain the reasons for high suicide rates in the North American nation.

Since traditional interventions are not effective in the Canadian environment, it is reasonable to draw attention to the use of culture. Barker et al. (2017) mention that this approach allows for considering Indigenous youth suicides “a community crisis requiring social change through cultural reclamation” (p. e209). It means that suicides should be treated as a systematic issue rather than individual problems. Barker et al. (2017) also explain that some cultural markers, including healthcare, language, self-governance, and others, contribute to lower suicide rates in Indigenous communities. Consequently, cultural continuity helps understand the problem and explain how it is possible to address it.

Many credible sources demonstrate that promoting cultural continuity is an effective way to address the issue under consideration. Chandler and Lalonde (2008b) analyzed much statistical information to conclude that there is an evident connection between increased cultural continuity and decreased suicide rates. The researchers arrived at this finding because they identified that suicide rates among Indigenous people were essentially lower in those communities that managed to preserve their cultural heritage (Chandler and Lalonde, 2008b). That is why it is possible to state that cultural continuity can play a determining role in protecting the Canadian Aboriginal youth from suicide risks.

Finally, there is no doubt that cultural continuity is significant for society and individuals. Chandler and Lalonde (2008a) explain that this term focuses on what it means “to be a person or to have a culture” (p. 223). In other words, cultural continuity provides individuals with certain beliefs and values that help them overcome challenges and avoid risk-taking behaviors. This claim allows for supposing that promoting cultural principles among the Indigenous Canadian youth is an effective, if not the only, method to reduce high incidence rates. Consequently, it is challenging to overestimate the role of cultural continuity for the problem under investigation.

In conclusion, it is possible to mention that there is a direct connection between youth suicide rates among Indigenous people in Canada and cultural continuity. It is so because these phenomenon helps identify the leading reasons for the problem and offer valuable solutions to mitigate the situation. Thus, the research paper has demonstrated that it is reasonable in the Canadian context to promote cultural continuity among the Aboriginal youth to reduce suicide rates.

References

Barker, B., Goodman, A., & DeBeck, K. (2017). Reclaiming Indigenous identities: Culture as strength against suicide among Indigenous youth in Canada. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 108(2), e208-e210. Web.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (1998). Cultural continuity as a hedge against suicide in Canada’s First Nations. In Cultural continuity (pp. 1-20). The University of British Columbia.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008a). Cultural continuity as a moderator of suicide risk among Canada’s First Nations. In L. Kirmayer & G. Valadkakis, G. (Eds.), Healing traditions: The mental health of Aboriginal peoples in Canada (pp. 221-248). University of British Columbia Press.

Chandler, M. J., & Lalonde, C. E. (2008b). Cultural continuity as a protective factor against suicide in First Nations Youth. Horizons – A Special Issue on Aboriginal Youth, Hope, or Heartbreak, Aboriginal Youth and Canada’s Future, 10(1), 68-72

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IvyPanda. "How Does Cultural Continuity Play a Role in Youth Suicide Rates among Indigenous People in Canada?" June 21, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-does-cultural-continuity-play-a-role-in-youth-suicide-rates-among-indigenous-people-in-canada/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "How Does Cultural Continuity Play a Role in Youth Suicide Rates among Indigenous People in Canada?" June 21, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/how-does-cultural-continuity-play-a-role-in-youth-suicide-rates-among-indigenous-people-in-canada/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'How Does Cultural Continuity Play a Role in Youth Suicide Rates among Indigenous People in Canada'. 21 June.

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