Suicide rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: the influence of community level cultural connectedness

Mandy Gibson, Jaimee Stuart, Stuart Leske, Raelene Ward, Robert Tanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To examine associations between community cultural connectedness indicators and suicide mortality rates for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Study design: Retrospective mortality study. Setting, participants: Suicide deaths of people aged 10‒19 years recorded by the Queensland Suicide Register, 2001‒2015. Main outcome measures: Age-standardised suicide death rates, by Indigenous status, sex, and age group; age-standardised suicide death rates for young First Nations people by area level remoteness and Index of Relative Socioeconomic Advantage and Disadvantage, and by cultural connectedness indicators (at statistical area level 2): cultural social capital index score, community Indigenous language use, and reported discrimination. Results: The age-specific suicide rate was 21.1 deaths per 100 000 persons/year for First Nations young people and 5.0 deaths per 100 000 persons/year for non-Indigenous young people (rate ratio [RR], 4.3; 95% CI, 3.5‒5.1). The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people was higher in areas with low levels of cultural social capital (greater participation of community members in cultural events, ceremonies, organisations, and community activities) than in areas classified as having high levels (RR, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2‒2.7), and also in communities with high levels of reported discrimination (RR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.7‒4.3). Associations with proportions of Indigenous language speakers and area level socio-economic resource levels were not statistically significant. Conclusion: We found that suicide mortality rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in Queensland were influenced by community level culturally specific risk and protective factors. Our findings suggest that strategies for increasing community cultural connectedness at the community level and reducing institutional and personal discrimination could reduce suicide rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-518
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Volume214
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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