Franklin James Cook

Child Death Review Offers Insight, Recommendations

In Intervention, Policy, Prevention, Research on December 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

lookingforsomething1ORIGINAL ARTICLE — An article in the Vancouver Sun summarizes a report issued today by the British Columbia Coroners Service titled “Looking for Something to Look Forward To -– A Five-Year Retrospective Review of Child and Youth Suicide in B.C.,” which “highlights the need for better recognition of the signs of a child at risk of suicide.”

The report was done by the coroners’ Child Death Review Unit, which studied the files of 81 children who died by suicide between Jan. 1, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2007.

A 23-member special review panel then issued a set of 17 recommendations for action on a variety of suicide prevention strategies, including mental health promotion, early intervention and targeted clinical interventions.

The newspaper story focuses on the report’s findings about risk factors and warning signs …

“Although it’s a topic that people find uncomfortable and distressing, we need to talk about it,” said Kellie Kilpatrick, executive director of the Child Death Review Unit. “Parents and caregivers need to be aware of some of the signs of a child who may be at risk of suicide and be prepared to [respond] if it appears a youth is in distress.”

… and a summary of the report provides a very helpful overview of those topics.

The summary doesn’t include any detail about the recommendations, which in fact are comprehensive and insightful as well as being an excellent example of suicide prevention planning that is based on data from the study of actual fatalities. SPNAC has put together an excerpt of the recommendations that you can download here.

The recommendations call for action along a continuum of suicide prevention strategies … It is important to remember that suicide is a complex problem that will not be addressed by any single intervention or through the actions of any individual agency. The recommendations … are, in many cases, focused on long-term outcomes and hence should not be understood as providing an immediate solution to child and youth suicide.

At the website of the Child Death Review Unit, you can download a copy of the complete report, or you may view it online, along with other resources and information related to the unit’s work.

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