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Families and Communities Facing Local Youth Suicide Clusters: Two Examples in Québécois and Aboriginal populations

Guillaume Grandazzi

Based on interviews carried out in two Québec communities, including one First Nations community, affected by local clusters of youth suicide, this article examines the representations and repercussions of these events. Merely objectifying a series of suicides in a given time and place is not sufficient to describe the phenomenon, which also concerns a reality that is both physical and social and which is subject to a process of social construction. This may or may not contribute to transforming several individual and family tragedies into a broader issue that concerns and involves the entire community that has been affected. Beyond the suicides’ proximity in place and time, it is the fact that the phenomenon affects adolescents and young adults, sometimes in significant proportions, that deeply troubles these communities and forces adults to question why a portion of its youth, though the act of suicide, manifests a vulnerability so great that it shakes the foundations of social life and intergenerational transmission.