Community groups want action after youth suicide pact discovered in B.C.
Community groups are calling for changes to youth and family services in East Vancouver after the discovery of a suicide pact involving dozens of children, most of them aboriginal.
“We need change now,” Scott Clark of the Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement Society said after the suicide pact came to light.
A report obtained by The Canadian Press last week revealed that 30 children, most of them between 12 and 15 years old, were involved in a suicide pact that police discovered online. As a precaution, 24 kids were hospitalized.
Other children from the same community were harming themselves and, over the course of several months this year, drinking so heavily that they blacked out.
The incidents occurred in Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland area, located near the troubled Downtown Eastside. Talks of the suicide pact first emerged on Facebook in September, but police have released few details, saying they don’t want to encourage “copy cats.”
CTV News spoke to one teen who said she was mistakenly added to the suicide pact list and taken to hospital for an assessment by members of a crisis intervention team.
“They said that I had to go and take an exam for the hospital and I got tested on my blood and all that,” said the girl, whose identity is being withheld.
Since the pact was discovered, advocates say five more young people in the community have attempted suicide.
“They have to be dealt with and the governments have to take a more serious view to dealing with these issues and working with the communities,” said Bill Lightbown of the United Native Nations.
Community groups say there has been no co-ordinated follow-up on the children’s well-being.
The British Columbia government said Tuesday it is monitoring the situation and is willing to meet with community members to discuss their concerns.
With a report from CTV’s Vancouver Bureau Chief Melanie Nagy