Saskatoon

'We have to come together and fix it': Suicides in North Battleford, Sask., prompt community action plan

Three recent suicides of young residents in the city of North Battleford, Sask., have sparked a community response.

Multiple local agencies have offered their support

In an effort to help mobilize the community and address the issue of suicide in North Battleford, multiple local agencies are offering their support. (Shutterstock / Novikov Alex)

Three recent suicides of young residents in the city of North Battleford, Sask., have sparked a community response.

Within the span of a month, two high school students and a 21-year-old woman have committed suicide.

"I think for a lot of people there's disbelief and there's concern, and worry about what's going on and what we can do — first of all — to prevent further tragedy," said Brenda Vickers, director of education for the Living Sky School Division.

In a way to help mobilize the community and address the issue of suicide in the city, Vickers said multiple local agencies have offered their support.

"We've got members of mental health, we've got the RCMP, we've got our faith community on board and several others — certainly the education community also — to look at this through multiple lenses," she added.

Going forward, the group will work closely with Kevin Cameron, an expert in the field of student and youth focused trauma, she said.

With some guidance from Cameron, Vickers said they hope to be able to develop an action plan to prevent any more tragedy in the near future.

Initial meeting

On Wednesday, the multi-organizational group held an information session to address questions from about 300 parents and caregivers in attendance.

Cory Rideout, director of education for Light of Christ Catholic Schools, said it was the first step in their process to expose this issue in the community.

"That meeting marked a commitment from our community that we're not going to work in silos anymore. We're going to work together and try to address these issues together," Rideout said.

He noted that a follow-up meeting to talk about additional steps with members of the multi-organizational group will take place on Tuesday.

"We have to come together and fix it," he said.

About the Author

Victoria Dinh

CBC Saskatoon reporter

Victoria Dinh is a journalist with CBC Saskatoon. She is also a co-host, writer and producer of the CBC investigative podcast, The Pit. Get in touch with Victoria by emailing victoria.dinh@cbc.ca