Youth suicide has no 'one-size-fits-all' solution

A B.C. Coroners Service review of 91 cases of youth and child suicide has concluded there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the problem, but improvements can be made to the way services are delivered.
Suicide second-leading cause of death for young people in B.C. 2:15

A B.C. Coroners Service review of 91 cases of youth and child suicide has concluded there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution to the problem, but improvements can be made to the way services are delivered.

The multidisciplinary panel of child service experts reviewed suicide cases from 2008 and 2012 and concluded that child and youth suicide "remains a highly complex phenomenon."

"Although there are a number of factors associated with increased risk of suicide, those factors were not found consistently across the children and youth who died. As such, panel members concluded there is no way of accurately predicting or identifying which young people are at the highest risk for suicide," said a statement issued by the B.C. Coroners Service on Thursday.

"While the panel have concluded that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will reduce or eliminate child and youth suicide, there are specific things we can be doing to move forward with prevention efforts," said Michael Egilson, director of the B.C. Coroners Service Child Death Review Unit and panel chair.

The panel made three main recommendations:

  • Improving the coordination of risk assessment and early intervention services at the community level.
  • Identifying and removing barriers for youth trying to access mental health services.
  • Improving the way information on drug use, sexual orientation, bullying and social media is collected in coroner's reports.

It comes less than a year after a similar review of youth suicides by B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth concluded the B.C.'s mental health system has gaping holes which can often worsen problems, rather than fix them, for  those at risk.

It also comes less than a year after Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd committed suicide after years of suffering cyberstalking, harassment and bullying.

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