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Students in class at a residential school in Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan

A new study from Statistics Canada finds that more than one in five First Nations living off reserve, Metis and Inuit adults report having suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.

When the groups were examined separately, different factors emerged as associated with suicidal thoughts including drinking, marital status and health conditions.

But when all the groups were combined, residential school experience emerged as a significant association.

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The agency analyzed data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey and the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey for First Nations living off reserve, Metis and Inuit aged 26 to 59 to arrive at their conclusions.

Statistics Canada says the results could inform further research that can be used to guide suicide prevention programs among First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

Previous studies have suggested suicide and self-inflicted injuries are among the leading causes of death for among First Nations, Metis and Inuit.

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