|Original News Release|
BURNABY- A death review panel established by the BC Coroners Service to examine findings of a five-year review has issued 17 recommendations aimed at preventing future child and youth suicide deaths.
Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, Ministry of Health Services, Provincial Health Services
As government develops an updated 10-year mental health plan for B.C.:
• adopt a government-wide approach to promotion, prevention and early intervention in mental health for children and youth, including detection and response to suicidal behaviour, similar to the province’s approach to the promotion of positive physical health.
• call for targeted efforts to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental disorders.
Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport
Develop population-level mental health indicators to support effective delivery of population mental health strategies and enhanced knowledge of the mental health status of B.C. children and youth.
Ministry of Education,
To increase resiliency and coping skills in children and youth, deliver curriculum based universal skill-building programs in all B.C. schools.
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Develop a mental health literacy tool to assist B.C. families in recognizing and responding to signs of mental health problems involving children and youth, and to distinguish these from normal developmental processes.
Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport
Establish a web-based information clearinghouse for B.C., which will serve as a centralized access point for resources on promotion, prevention and early intervention in mental health (including suicide prevention and postvention). Its development should include a communications plan that promotes regular and ongoing use by both professionals and the public.
Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention
Across B.C., deliver community-based gatekeeper training programs to improve recognition of and response to suicidal behaviour among those who have regular, non-clinical contact with children and youth. Programs should include an evaluation component and target a diverse group of potential interveners in the community – for example, teachers, coaches, employers, police officers, probation officers, clergy and other community leaders.
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Children and Family Development, British Columbia School Trustees Association, Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia
Offer evidence-based peer recognition and response training to youth in all B.C. school districts. This training should be offered on a continual basis and be delivered as part of a holistic school-based approach to preventing suicide that incorporates other recommendations made by the panel, including universal systematic screening and the development of crisis response protocols.
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Healthy
Living and Sport,
To improve school connectedness, engagement and attendance among B.C. youth, implement systematic, school-based screening to identify students who require enhanced skills-based social support. This screening program should incorporate evidence-based suicide predictors and include measures to ensure that enhanced support and adequate follow-up are provided when a need is identified.
Ministry of Education, Ministry of Healthy
Living and Sport,
Using a “determinants of health” approach to address emotional and behavioural problems among children and youth, implement province-wide policies or programs that aim to improve school connectedness. Interventions should integrate both school-based and community-based strategies to improve a child or youth’s connection with peers, teachers and the learning process.
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Improve means restriction efforts in B.C. by:
• retrofitting the five bridges in B.C that are responsible for over 50 per cent of suicide deaths by jumping from 1991 to 2007 (Burrard Street Bridge, Granville Street Bridge, Iron Workers Memorial Bridge, Lions Gate Bridge, Pattullo Bridge) with barriers to prevent future suicide deaths by jumping.
• developing policy that establishes criteria for determining when bridges should be outfitted with barriers to prevent suicide by jumping, and enforcing this policy in the construction of all new bridges in B.C.
Information and Privacy Commissioner
Develop and distribute a policy handbook to support accurate, consistent interpretation and practice of confidentiality requirements among those working in child-serving jurisdictions. This handbook should address appropriate sharing of information within the circle of care, including families, when a child or youth is determined to be at risk to him/herself or others, as dictated under relevant provincial and federal legislation (including the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Infants Act, Child, Family and Community Service Act, and Youth Criminal Justice Act).
Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Health Services, British Columbia Medical Association, College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia, College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, British Columbia School Counsellors’ Association
Provide point-of-care practitioners across B.C. with ongoing yearly continuing professional education on effective recognition and treatment of adolescent depression and suicidal behaviour.
Ministry of Health Services, Ministry of Children and Family Development
Develop a suicide response protocol for B.C. hospital emergency rooms, to be initiated after an assessment of a child or youth in an emergency ward when suicidal behaviour has been noted. The protocol should specify that at the point of discharge from the emergency ward the following occurs:
• notification of parent or guardian.
• education of family/caregivers on restricting access to suicidal means within the home (for example, safe storage of prescription medications).
• creation of a safety plan.
• immediate notification of the patient’s community mental health team.
• sending of a discharge summary to the patient and his or her family, the patient’s family doctor and community mental health team.
Upon receiving this notification, the community mental health team should follow up with the child or youth within 24 hours.
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Ministry of Health Services, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of British Columbia, First Nations Health Council.
Establish a provincial task force that will advance suicide postvention efforts in B.C. by completing an environmental scan of crisis-response teams and/or suicide-response protocols that exist in B.C. municipalities, and:
• where response teams exist, determining their nature and membership.
• in municipalities that currently lack them, supporting the establishment of crisis-response teams or protocols while encouraging the use of existing postvention models that have shown success in other jurisdictions.
Ministry of Health Services, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport
As supported by the provincial Public Health Act, develop a surveillance system for suicide attempts in B.C. that brings together currently available data systems and draws from successful surveillance models in other areas.
Adopt and ensure province-wide adherence to best practices for media
coverage of suicide deaths, as outlined in currently available guidelines, such
as the (
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Following a suicide death, ensure that survivors receive existing postvention resources directly. Suicide survivors may include family members, friends, school peers, care providers, co-workers and others who have been affected by a suicide death.
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Office of the Chief Coroner
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