New Study: Food insecurity contributes to high rates of mental health problems among low-income Indigenous peoples

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A new study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) found that addressing food insecurity among Canada’s Indigenous people may improve mental health. More than 28% of off-reserve Indigenous households experienced some form of food insecurity in the past year, compared with 12.6% within the overall Canadian population.

Indigenous peoples in Canada also have higher rates of psychological distress and suicide rates that are 2 to 3 times higher than among non-Indigenous Canadians.

Researchers examined which financial factors affect psychological distress, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among Indigenous peoples living off-reserve. Researchers analyzed survey responses from 14,000 Indigenous adults and found that lack of income and food insecurity — “the uncertainty over having a regular, affordable source of nutritious food” – are major contributors to poor mental health outcomes within Indigenous populations.

The study calls for policies designed to address food insecurity and lack of income.

See the Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal
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