Closure of Crossroads Crisis Centre not helping people considering suicide

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Dear editor,

The Comox Valley newspapers tell us that since January 2009, 17 people in our beautiful valley have committed suicide, an appallingly high number.

Candice Shields is the fifth young person to have died by suicide.

According to the 2008 North Island Adolescent Health Survey conducted by the McCreary Centre Society, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth aged 12 to 18 in B.C.

Thirteen per cent of youth on the North Island (which includes the Comox Valley) have seriously considered suicide in the past year and seven per cent of students have attempted suicide, which is higher than the provincial average (five per cent), according to  the McCreary Centre Society (www.mcs.bc.ca).

Clearly, the high number of suicides in the Comox Valley since 2009 is well above the provincial average seen in 2008.

What’s different?

In the fall of 2009, our local resource the Crossroads Crisis Centre was closed by Kevin Falcon, then the Minister of Health.

This valuable local resource also provided the suicide prevention program, which was offered to students from Grade 7 to 12.

According to Roger Kishi, program director of the Wachiay Friendship Centre, a year was spent trying to find funding for this program.

As a recently retired school counsellor, I know how many students called the Crossroads Crisis Centre — too many. Our youth and adults struggling with life deserve better.

Susanna Kaljur,

Courtenay

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