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Suicides in Quebec indigenous communities preventable: coroner’s report

In this file photo, residents walk in the northern Labrador community of Natuashish, N.L. on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007.   A Quebec coroner's report says five suicides that occurred in two
indigenous communities in 2015 on Quebec's North Shore were avoidable. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017.
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In this file photo, residents walk in the northern Labrador community of Natuashish, N.L. on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007. A Quebec coroner's report says five suicides that occurred in two indigenous communities in 2015 on Quebec's North Shore were avoidable. Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017. . Andrew Vaughan/ The Canadian Press

A Quebec coroner’s report says five suicides that occurred in two indigenous communities in 2015 were avoidable.

The report released Saturday by Bernard Lefrancois says the problems are largely rooted in the reserve system, which the coroner compares to apartheid.

READ MORE: National suicide strategy urged after deaths of 2 youths in northern Ontario: First Nations chief

Lefrancois’ report says the four women and one man had different stories but were all aboriginal, and all suffered individually against a backdrop of collective unhappiness.

The victims ranged in age from 18 to 46 and all took their lives between February and October of 2015 in the communities of Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, near Sept-Iles, and Kawawachikamach, on Quebec’s North Shore.

READ MORE: AFN National Chief urges national approach to lower suicide rates amongst Indigenous youth

The report says the five victims — four Innu and one Naskapi — all exhibited at least one of the factors associated with suicide,which can include alcohol and drug consumption, family difficulties,
mental illness and exposure to the suicide of a loved one.

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Lefrancois’ report calls for improving the living conditions in aboriginal communities, which have a suicide rate that is double that of the general population.

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