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BURNABY – A report on the lives and deaths of 81 B.C. children who died by suicide, which includes the first published recommendations from a death review panel appointed under the Coroners Act, was issued today through the BC Coroners Service.
The report from the Child Death Review Unit, entitled ‘Looking for Something to Look Forward To’, concerns 81 children who died by suicide between Jan. 1, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2007.
“Seventy per cent of these children had shown signs of suicidal behaviour and most had reached out to someone for help before their deaths,” said Kellie Kilpatrick, director of the Child Death Review Unit. “This highlights the need for everyone to better understand signs that a child or youth may be at risk of suicide, and how to respond.”
The death review panel provided 17 recommendations for action on a variety of suicide prevention strategies, including mental health promotion, early intervention and targeted clinical interventions.
Suicide remains the second leading cause of death for B.C. children aged 12 to 18. The review found the following groups at increased risk of suicide:
· Older youth (17–18-year-olds).
· Aboriginal children and youth.
· Gay, lesbian and bisexual youth and those who were questioning their sexuality.
Within these groups were three main risk profiles: children and youth with chronic mental health problems (45 per cent), those who experienced ongoing family or relationship dysfunction (44 per cent) and those who experienced a stressful event in the absence of chronic mental health problems and dysfunction (26 per cent). School challenges and a history of substance use were also identified risk factors.
The 23 panel members included mental health experts, injury prevention specialists, physicians, educators, law enforcement personnel, parents, researchers and representatives from the First Nations Health Council and other Aboriginal community agencies.
The Child Death Review Unit of the BC Coroners Service is committed to a comprehensive review of all child deaths, to better understand how and why children die, and to use findings to take action to prevent other deaths and improve the health, safety and well-being of all B.C. children.
The report is available online at www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/coroners/child-death-review/index.htm
More information on suicide and mental health issues is available on the Youth in BC website at www.youthinbc.com online. Help is available 24/7 through the B.C. Crisis Centres Distress line:
Toll Free (Howe Sound and
Toll Free (B.C.-wide): 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Office of the Chief Coroner
For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.