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Chief Coroner Releases Report On First Nation Youth Suicides

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Chief Coroner Releases Report On First Nation Youth Suicides

Review of 16 deaths in Pikangikum First Nation leads to recommendations

Dr. Andrew McCallum, Chief Coroner for Ontario, today released a report entitled The Office of the Chief Coroner's Death Review of the Youth Suicides at the Pikangikum First Nation 2006 - 2008.

The report is a detailed and comprehensive review of the deaths of 16 children between the ages of 10-19 as a result of suicide in the years 2006-2008. The Office of the Chief Coroner observed, with increasing alarm, the rising toll of teenage deaths on reserve. The purpose of the review was to:

  1. Examine the circumstances of the death of each youth.
  2. Collect and analyze information about the deaths in order to prevent further deaths in similar circumstances.
  3. Make recommendations directed at avoiding deaths in similar circumstances or respecting any other matter arising out of the review.
Led by Deputy Chief Coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers, the review began in March 2010 and involved several parties, including health care professionals, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth and child welfare providers. A total of 100 recommendations are offered to try to stem the loss of life of First Nations youth, not only in Pikangikum, but all across Ontario. These recommendations target the areas of education, policing, child welfare and health care, focusing in particular on the development of suicide prevention strategies. The Office of the Chief Coroner would like to thank all of the members of the multidisciplinary team who contributed their time and expertise to this enormous effort. A special thanks to the Chief, Council and Elders of the Pikangikum First Nation for their support and encouragement and to Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation for his guidance and wisdom.

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“It is my hope that recipients of our recommendations will sincerely and thoughtfully consider this report and make every effort to implement what we believe to be effective strategies to prevent deaths of First Nation youth, both today and in the future.”

Dr. Andrew McCallum

Chief Coroner for Ontario

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Health and Wellness Law and Safety Rural and North