Unlike adults, youth do not have the ability to think about life and life events in terms of the broader perspective or "big picture". They tend to believe that all of the unhappiness they are feeling and experiencing will go on forever. Everything that is happening to them is in the "here and now" and they can't begin to think that there might be a brighter future just around the corner. They often don't believe that anyone can help them, and they feel helpless and hopeless within their situation. They believe that they can either live with the pain or end it by ending their life. Unfortunately, their ultimate decision could be fatal. .
Youth who are intending suicide often feel worthless, alone, unloved, unlovable, and they may believe that they are a burden on their parents. They feel misunderstood and judged by their peers and by adults. They are often ultra sensitive to criticism, scared to make mistakes, and feel unable to cope. They believe that these feelings will last forever and that nobody can help them.
Social and economic conditions on most funds in Canada are difficult. Homes with more than one occupant per room are sixteen times more likely on reserves, and often water supply and sewage disposal are inadequate (Kirmayer). As for literacy, 45 percent of all status Indians living on reserve are illiterate, contributing to the difficulty of competing in the job market and impairing the communication of traditional culture (Kirmayer). The poor economic conditions affecting most Native communities damage the self worth and sense of security of the jobless people. These conditions can result in depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and family violence, all of which contribute to the high suicide rate of Aboriginal people living on reserves.
Canada's overall suicide rate is typically about 14 per 100,000 people; the U.S. rate is consistently slightly lower, at about 12 per 100,000 (Suicide in Canada).