“Rebuilding our community”: HearinG silenced voices on Aboriginal youth suicide

Melissa L Walls, Dane Hautala, Jenna Hurley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper brings forth the voices of adult Aboriginal First Nations community members who gathered in focus groups to discuss the problem of youth suicide on their reserves. Our approach emphasizes multilevel (e.g., individual, family, and broader ecological systems) factors viewed by participants as relevant to youth suicide. Wheaton's conceptualization of stressors and Evans-Campbell's multilevel classification of the impacts of historical trauma are used as theoretical and analytic guides. Thematic analysis of qualitative data transcripts revealed a highly complex intersection of stressors, traumas, and social problems seen by community members as underlying mechanisms influencing heightened levels of Aboriginal youth suicidality. Our multilevel coding approach revealed that suicidal behaviors were described by community members largely as a problem with deep historical and contemporary structural roots, as opposed to being viewed as individualized pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-72
Number of pages26
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • American Indian
  • First Nations
  • suicide

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