The mother of an inner-city Winnipeg youth who recently committed suicide says she wants to see more support resources in place for other at-risk youth.
Margaret Hunte's 18-year-old son, Sean, died on April 25. He was known as a leader and role model for aboriginal and inner-city youth.
"Each person's life that Sean touched will be able to say, 'This is what I remember Sean for' … that movement of being kind to yourself and to others, reaching out to others in need," Margaret Hunte told CBC News in an interview.
The Manitoba Suicide Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-877-435-7170.
Sean Hunte lived in Winnipeg's North End and although he was not aboriginal by birth, he was considered to have been adopted into the aboriginal community.
Once considered at-risk, he became a young leader and mentor in the North End, working at the Ndinawe Resource Centre as a youth support worker.
He stood up for social justice issues and was seen as a poster child for leadership, according to friends and those involved with some of the outreach organizations in the inner city.
At the same time, Hunte continued to couch surf, struggling to keep a roof over his head.
Friends developing ideas
Hunte's death has devastated his friends and also cast a spotlight on the issue of youth suicide in the aboriginal community.
According to the Canadian Institute of Child Health, aboriginal youth commit suicide five to six times more often than non-aboriginal youth.
Hunte's friends have since started brainstorming ideas to prevent more youth suicides from happening.
Some ideas to date have included a 24-hour help line operated by people in the community, as well as more places where young people can go after hours.
Margaret Hunte said she hopes the ideas will bring about change.
"The fact that they were able to start coming up with ideas, that means that it's something resting on their heart … and then all of a sudden, it's hitting them like a brick of reality — 'One of my friends just died,'" she said.
Hunte said she believes at-risk youth, as well as those who are left behind as a result of suicide, need more support.