Five suicides in Quebec indigenous communities were avoidable: coroner’s report

Five suicides in Quebec indigenous communities were avoidable: coroner’s report

A Quebec coroner’s report says five suicides that occurred in two indigenous communities in 2015 were avoidable.

The report released earlier today by Bernard Lefrancois says the problems are largely rooted in the reserve system, which the coroner compares to apartheid.

Lefrancois’ report says the four women and one man had different stories but were all aboriginal, and all suffered individually against a backdrop of collective unhappiness.

The victims ranged in age from 18 to 46 and all took their lives between February and October of 2015 in the communities of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam and Kawawachikamach, on Quebec’s North Shore.

The report says the five victims — four Innu and one Naskapi — all exhibited at least one of the factors associated with suicide, which can include alcohol and drug consumption, family difficulties, mental illness and exposure to the suicide of a loved one.

Lefrancois’ report calls for improving the living conditions in aboriginal communities, which have a suicide rate that is double that of the general population.

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