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The problem of suicide among Amerindians in Camopi-Trois Sauts, French Guiana 2008-2015.

Pacot, Rémi; Garmit, Basma; Pradem, Marianne; Nacher, Mathieu; Brousse, Paul.
BMC Psychiatry ; 18(1): 99, 2018 04 11.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29642878


Suicide within the Amerindian community of Camopi (1741 inhabitants) in French Guiana has been an increasing problem widely reported in the media leading the French Government to mandate a parliamentary mission to investigate the matter. The purpose of the study was to describe this phenomenon and identify factors associated with suicide attempts.


A retrospective observational study was conducted from the health centers' medical records. All suicide attempts and suicides committed between 2008 and 2015 by Amerindians living in Camopi and Trois Sauts were compiled. Contextual factors and suicide representations were also analyzed.


During the study period, the annual attempted suicide rate and the suicide rate were higher in the last 3 years. The overall annual rate was equal to 6.9/1741 or 396 per 100, 000 inhabitants for attempted suicide and 172 per 100,000 inhabitants for suicide, which is more than 10 times higher than the suicide rate in mainland France. The mortality rate was 30.4% versus 8.2% in mainland France. The 10-20 year-old age group represented 70% of suicide deaths. There was no significant difference between genders. A recent death and interpersonal conflict were the main stressful life events reported by respondents (55 and 52%, respectively). Alcohol addiction (30% of the respondents) was associated with suicide attempts under the influence of alcohol (p = 0.03). Repetition of suicide attempts was associated with cannabis consumption (p = 0.03). Depression was reported among 45% of the respondents. A third of respondents reported having been abused during their childhood. Over half of respondents reported that their suicide attempt was motivated by a spirit (58%).


Despite limitations due to the small population size and limited time frame, this is the first study to describe the epidemiology of suicide among Amerindians living in Camopi. In contrast with other French territories, the suicide rate was very high, the sex ratio was balanced and younger age groups were most affected.