Panel calls for better suicide prevention services for youth in B.C.
A panel of experts said there is a need for more timely access to mental health supports and services in rural areas of British Columbia to try to prevent child and youth suicides.
The panel reviewed 111 suicides between Jan. 1, 2013, and June 30, 2018, and found that prescribing guidelines for children and youth in need of psychiatric medication were also not available to all health professionals.
It found as well that families could not always get access to services for children and youths.
The death review panel — appointed by the chief coroner and consisting of a senior RCMP officer, doctors, school, First Nation and government officials, among others — made three recommendations to try and reduce child and youth suicides.
Those include distributing provincial best practice guidelines on youth mental health and expanding mental health services, including psychiatric services, to non-urban areas.
Panel chair Michael Egilson said almost 70 per cent of serious mental health issues emerge before the age of 25, and programs aimed at children in schools and best practice guidelines for health-care providers help prevent suicides.
“Suicide is the leading cause of injury-related death among children and youth in B.C.,” he said in a news release.
``Predicting suicide is difficult, which is why it is so important to ensure that all youth have access to the tools and resources to support their mental well-being, as well as ensuring appropriate services are available for youth who are struggling.''
This review adds to the work of a previous panel that looked at child and youth suicides between 2008 and 2012.
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: www.suicideprevention.ca
Mental Health Commission of Canada: www.mentalhealthcommission.ca
International Association for Suicide Prevention: www.iasp.info
For immediate crisis support anywhere in B.C.: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
For immediate crisis support anywhere in Canada: 1-833-456-4566
For youth anywhere in Canada: 1-800-668-6868
For text support: Text CONNECT to 686868
For chat options: visit www.kidshelpphone.ca
Kamloops Suicide Loss Support Group: for anyone impacted by suicide loss; meets on the second and fourth Monday of every month at Kamloops United Church, at St. Paul Street and Fourth Avenue downtown, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 250-574-7664 for more information.