Suicide prompts call for more help for young Albertans

The death of a 19-year-old Edmonton student has his family and experts saying more needs to be done about the high rate of suicide among young adults in Alberta.

More needs to be done about the high rate of suicide among young adults in Alberta, say teachers and the family of a 19-year-old Edmonton student who stepped in front of a LRT train last week.

Jonathan Langille wrote about killing himself in his journal before he died, but Kings University student never revealed his plans to others.

Langille's mother Jan Thorpe and stepdad Shawn Egan said they'd like to see more help in schools available to troubled students.

Shelley Magnusson of the Alberta Teachers Association wants the province to restore funding to hire psychologists as guidance counsellors who are trained to spot students at risk of suicide.

"Mental health issues are increasing among students especially the 15-to-19-years-olds," she said. "They estimate now that 10 to 20 per cent of all teenagers will experience a major depressive episode in their lives.

"That's not just that they're a little depressed, they're in a major depression and at major risk for suicide."

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne said the province is already providing some psychologists in schools and universities and training for teachers to recognize suicidal tendencies.

The province has already put significant resources in schools and universities such as the Mental Health Capacity Building project, Horne said.

"Some of them are psychologists, some are social workers, some are addictions counsellors in the schools now," he said. "They're available as a resource to students."

With files from CBC's James Hees