Children’s rights advocate talks teen suicide among aboriginals

November 24, 2012

B.C.’s children’s rights watchdog has some insight on suicide among First Nations teens.

This, after news of heavy drinking, self-harm and a suicide pact surfaced in Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhood.

Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond says these kids often deal with the effects still felt in their families about their treatment at residential schools.        

“They frequently, not always, but frequently are really dealing with recovering and overcoming some just incredible shocks and pretty aggressive and even significant violence (and) sexual abuse they may have experienced in those schools, and how that’s affected families, and how it’s affected how they can navigate the world around them.”

She adds kids at risk can be drawn to dangerous people when they’re in big cities such as Vancouver.

She says their needs should be dealt with from a trauma-informed perspective – a skill-set she says is not strong in our public services.

Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham says tips about a possible pact allowed officers to react quickly.

“Any time that does happen in the community, we do appreciate people bringing it to our attention so we can act on it and so we can get people the right help.”

He adds a key part of their swift response was VPD youth workers, who are very active in communities throughout the city and schools.

CKNW Vancouver News

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