Themes of Healing Among Squamish Nation Members After a Loss to Suicide


  • Jennifer Campbell College of Psychologists of BC


Suicide, Healing, Postvention, Community Based Research, First Nations


This research was a response to the disproportionately high suicide rates, risk for suicide clusters, and need for a suicide postvention plan in the Squamish Nation community. Using a community-based research approach and working collaboratively with Squamish Nation, I interviewed 8 community members who had lost a loved one to suicide within the past 1–10 years to understand what helped in their healing journey, as well as their recommendations for helping families after a loss to suicide. Findings indicate 5 themes of helpful postvention supports: healing self, social supports, formal community supports, wider world supports, and culture. Culture was found to aid healing across all levels. These themes do not exist in isolation, but are interrelated, both individually and communally helping community members in their healing journey. Recommendations for suicide postvention highlight the integration of healing supports from dominant mental health models and an Aboriginal wellness model. These findings should be considered with caution due to the small sample size; however, they are in line with the available Aboriginal suicide postvention literature and an Aboriginal worldview. Aboriginal communities across Canada are not homogenous, therefore generalizability to other communities is unknown.


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