VICTORIA – A review of child and youth suicides by the B.C. Coroners Service shows that youth in B.C. need government action now, say New Democrats.
The review analyzed 91 deaths over five years and put forward recommendations to address risk factors and promote mental health.
“These recommendations echo what I hear every day from families, caregivers and agencies caring for children and youth, and what we’ve seen in earlier reports,” said New Democrat children and family development critic Carole James. “The issue could not be clearer: we need action on this issue today.”
James is calling on the Liberal government to accept the recommendations in the report, and announce a clear implementation plan, with a timeline and resources dedicated to addressing the risk factors and supports needed.
She notes that reports by the Representative for Children and Youth have also offered analysis and recommendations on the topic of youth mental health, and youth at risk of self-harm and suicide.
“What we don’t need is more agreement from the government, followed by no action,” said James. “We have been told before that the government will address youth mental health, the service gaps facing vulnerable kids, the system’s failure of children in care – but then no plans, no details, and no money.”
James notes that addressing issues with more reports and panels rather than real action is becoming a pattern for the B.C. Liberal government.
“We need to continue to look at these complex issues, but right now what youth in B.C. need is action from this government. I want to see real change in light of this review.”