Very interesting article suggested by PHS 795 student David Mallinson. David writes:
Our discussion on Tuesday about applications of the Social Ecological Framework reminded me of an NPR long piece on suicide in Greenland (published April 2016): http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/04/21/474847921/the-arctic-suicides-its-not-the-dark-that-kills-you
Greenland has the highest annual suicide rate in the world at 83 cases per 100,000 people (it’s nearly double that of Guyana, which has the second highest rate at ~44 cases per 100,000 people), and this investigation suggests that Denmark’s* decision to shut down small villages and centralize Greenland’s Inuit population in the 1960s-70s was the causal mechanism to this crisis (read more about centralization here: http://greenlandtoday.com/urbanization/?lang=en). The mass centralization was an “unprecedented cultural interference” that attempted to assimilate Inuit communities to Danish culture (children were pressured to speak Danish at school, the absence of physicians who spoke their native language, etc.) while simultaneously segregating them by moving them into concrete apartment blocks. As a result, younger generations of Greenland’s Inuit population felt stripped of their identity — disconnected from their heritage but unaccepted by urbanized Greenlanders — and that rift degraded their communal and familial support systems. This breakdown spurred increased child neglect, physical abuse, and alcoholism, all of which are associated with suicide. In the context of the Social Ecological Framework, I believe this phenomenon to be a relevant and explicit example of how an institutionalized culture shock prompt a public health dilemma.
*Note: Greenland ceased being a colony of Denmark in 1953. Although autonomous, it is not entirely independent as it is part of the Danish Realm. I’m not familiar enough with the topic to provide greater details.