Public Safety and Solicitor General

More focus on outreach, treatment key to preventing suicides

Print

Public Safety and Solicitor General

More focus on outreach, treatment key to preventing suicides

Media Contacts
Andy Watson
Manager, Strategic Communications
BC Coroners Service
250 356-9253
Media Contacts
Andy Watson
Manager, Strategic Communications
BC Coroners Service
250 356-9253

Backgrounders

Facts about death review panel report
  • Suicide is the leading cause of injury-related death among children and youth in British Columbia. Youth suicide accounts for more deaths than motor vehicle incidents or overdose;
  • Each year in B.C., approximately 20 children and youth die by suicide;
  • Of the 111 deaths studied during the review, three times more males died by suicide than females;
  • In this review, of the 39 children and youth with medications prescribed for psychiatric conditions, one in five were prescribed psychiatric medications that did not follow prescribing guidelines and 41% were prescribed medications that were considered "off-label" use.
    • Off-label is when a doctor prescribes a medication even though it is not approved for the specific mental disorder that is being treated or for use by persons under a certain age.
  • This review found more suicide deaths occurred among older adolescents with 86% of the suicides occurring among youth ages 15 to 18 years.
  • More than half of the children and youth had a history of substance use.
  • The panel found that 41% of the children and youth who died by suicide had a history of a prior admission to hospital or were seen in a hospital emergency department for mental health concerns.
  • This review found higher rates of youth suicide for residents of rural health authorities (Interior, Island and Northern regional health authorities).
    • The Interior Health Authority had almost two times the rate of child and youth suicides as compared to the B.C. rate.
  • In this review, almost all children and youth who died by suicide were reported to have experienced personal stressors with “relationship difficulties” being reported as the most common type of personal challenge in more than two-thirds of the deaths studied.
  • Of the youth who died by suicide, hanging was the most common means, followed by firearm use and jumping from a height.
  • One of the BC Coroners Service’s most important responsibilities is the advancement of recommendations aimed at preventing deaths in similar circumstances. One of the ways the BC Coroners Service makes recommendations is through death review panels, which bring together experts across disciplines to review a group of deaths in aggregate to identify opportunities for intervention to prevent death and improve public safety.

Connect with the Ministry

Photos

View the Ministry's latest photos on Flickr.

Videos

Watch the Ministry's latest videos on YouTube.

Sound Bites

Listen to the Ministry's latest audio clips on SoundCloud.

View all Social Media