Studies and statistics have consistently shown that suicide rates among Canada’s Indigenous peoples are two to three times higher than among non-Indigenous Canadians.

The reasons are complex, of course, but a new study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal concludes the quality and availability of foods plays a major role in the mental health of Indigenous people living off-reserve in the country, a finding that appears to confirm a study carried out in Atlantic Canada in 2017.

UNICEF’s 2017 Index of Child and Youth Well-being and Sustainability. A recent national study from Children First Canada also reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among Canadian children. Mental-health related hospitalization rates are increasing and approximately one in five Canadian kids continue to live in poverty.

The reality is more bleak when you consider First Nations children.

One in three Indigenous children live in poverty. This number rises to over 60% among children living on reserve. First Nations youth have suicide rates five to seven times higher than non-Indigenous youth – and Inuit youth have one of the highest rates in the world, 11 times higher than the national average.

A mother from the Alexander First Nation, northwest of Edmonton, was turned away empty-handed from a nearby food bank because her home doesn’t fall in the territory it serves.

Sharleena Sauve went to the Morinville Food Bank on Dec. 11 to ask for help. She told CBC News that her interaction with the volunteer at the counter was friendly at first.

“He was very nice at first, but when he found out where I came from, that I live on Alexander, his demeanour changed completely,” Sauve said.

Melanie Montour was only a year old in 1970 when Fort Frances Children’s Aid Society in northern Ontario took her from her parents.

A survivor of the Sixties Scoop that placed an estimated 20,000 Indigenous children in foster homes or adoption, Montour is still struggling to put her life together.

The First Nations artist and community advocate recently found herself on the street. When the Toronto’s shelter referral service Streets to Homes was unable to provide stable housing for Montour and her 16-year-old daughter, she reached out to the downtown Indigenous community.

Results from a survey suggest that the vast majority of those who are homeless or “provisionally accommodated” in Whitehorse are Indigenous.

The “Point in Time,” or “PiT” count was done over a 24-hour period on April 17. It was organized by the Yukon Planning Group on Homelessness, along with the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition and the Council of Yukon First Nations.

It was the second PiT count in Whitehorse (the first was in 2016), and is part of a larger initiative to measure homelessness across Canada. Sixty communities across the country are taking part in PiT counts.