Suicide rates are higher among American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations than among any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Community control or autonomy, cultural identification, spirituality, and family connectedness are all important protective factors in preventing suicide among AI/AN populations.
Among American Indians and Alaska Natives, suicide rates peak during adolescence and young adulthood, then decline. This is a different pattern than is seen in the general United States population, where suicide rates peak mid-life.
Native Americans are at higher risk for suicide than the general population, but suicide rates vary widely across tribal communities. Each Native community has different mental health challenges and ways of coping with them. Involving Native people in prevention efforts can help ensure programs leverage local resources to meet the needs of the community.
Oregon Data on American Indian and Alaska Natives.
- AI/AN are often incorrectly classified as another race (usually White) in health data systems. Racial misclassification makes it difficult to accurately measure and report on outcomes like suicide.
- Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for AI/ANs in Oregon, and the 2nd leading cause of death for AI/ANs ages 10-24.
- 41.4% of AI/AN deaths in Oregon occurred among people younger than 35 years of age.
- 73% of AI/AN suicide deaths were male.
- 43% of AI/AN suicide deaths were by firearm, 35% were by hanging/strangulation, and 16% were from self-poisoning.
- The suicide mortality rate for AI/ANs in Oregon was 1.4 times
higher than the rate for nonAI/ANs. While males had a higher
suicide rate than females, AI/AN females had a larger disparity in
suicide rates (1.7 times higher than non-AI/ANs).
- There were 94 suicide deaths among AI/ANs in Oregon
- The suicide mortality rate for AI/ANs in Oregon decreased from 2002 to 2006. Since 2007, the suicide rate has nearly tripled.