Cross Lake First Nation office
Cross Lake First Nation is declaring a state of emergency after six suicide in the past two months.
An indigenous community in Canada has asked the federal government for health support amid a rising suicide rate among its people over the past months.

The Cross Lake Community appealed for federal aid on Thursday, a day after it declared a state of emergency over the increasing number of suicides among its 8,300 members.

The community, also known as the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, is located some 500 kilometers north of Winnipeg, Manibota Province, and is the third largest aboriginal community in the area.

The appeal for aid comes as six people in the community have committed suicide in two months, while 140 others attempted to kill themselves in the last two weeks.

The community's Acting Chief Shirley Robinson said she hoped the state of emergency would urge the government officials to send health workers to deal with the high rate of suicide.

The rate of unemployment in Cross Lake is 80 percent and housing is "neither safe nor healthy", Robinson also said, noting that in one case 27 people live in a single house.

A spokeswoman from the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said in a statement that assistance was offered to the community and officials "will work with the community to help address their mental health needs in this difficult time."

Aboriginals make up five percent of Canada's population of more than 35 million, but they struggle with poverty and desperation as well as high rates of crime and suicide. They also have a lower life expectancy than other Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who came to power in November 2015, has promised to mend relations with Canada's indigenous people.