Community and well being

I had a great Skype call with Chris Corrigan at the weekend. During it, he mentioned something that I checked out later. It’s this post in Chris’ blog: Institution building and suicide prevention, reporting on a Canadian study, Cultural Continuity as a Hedge Against Suicide in Canada’s First Nations”

The authors look at the role that cultural continutity plays in supporting invidual self-identity, especially among youth in BC Frist Nations. It works from a well-known correlation between supportive communities, healthy individuals and low suicide rates, but the real contribution of the paper is that it outlines a course of action communities can take to dramatically lower rates.

The report looks at six factors which, when present in a community, correlate with lower suicide rates and Chris continues

With some self-government in place for example, a community will reduce its youth suicide rate by 85 percent! But the authors discovered something even more amazing. In communities where these six factors are absent, the youth suicide rate is 137.5 per 100,000. That is 800 times the Canadian national average. In communities where all six of these factors are present, the rate drops to 0 per 100,000. You read it right. Zero. Not one suicide in the five year study period.

Evidence for the hardest metrics-fanatic: a sense of community saves lives.

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