Suicide--a challenge in modern Greenland

Arch Suicide Res. 2006;10(2):209-20. doi: 10.1080/13811110600558265.


The incidence of youth suicides has increased dramatically among the Inuit in Greenland since the modernization started in the 1950s. Suicides currently peak at age 15-24 Men: 400-500, Women: 100-150 per 100,000 person-years. The methods are drastic: shooting or hanging. An early peak was seen in the capital, a later peak in the rest of West Greenland, and high and increasing rates in remote East Greenland. Suicidal thoughts occur more often in young people who grew up in homes with a poor emotional environment, alcohol problems and violence. There is a definite correlation with several aspects of the modernization process but it is hard to pinpoint causal relationships. It is rather the "modernization package" that should be regarded as risk factors for suicides.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Greenland / epidemiology
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Services, Indigenous / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Inuit / psychology
  • Inuit / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data