GNB: Launch of Interim Recommendations Report for the Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services Review
7 June 2021
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Child, Youth, and Seniors’ Advocate publicly disclosed the Interim Recommendations Report for the Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services Review today.
Some of the broad approaches emerging from the ongoing review focus on: taking child rights to life and health seriously, investing in community-based approaches, staying the course and improving the province’s resource allocation in this area in the post-pandemic period, and placing children, youth and their families at the heart of the reform of mental health services.
Child, Youth and Seniors’ Advocate Norman Bossé called upon the government to implement these interim recommendations immediately:
- maintain “The Link, Le Maillon” and make improvements to its program;
- start planning now for an improved wellness and mental health support curriculum in schools for the post-pandemic period;
- commit to a new and extended process to improve services in First Nations communities and for urban indigenous children and youth;
- invest in community-based connection points to care like the ACCESS Open Minds Safe Spaces program; and
- implement the Integrated Services Delivery (ISD) fidelity and practice standards first developed in 2017.
“Some of the interim recommendations focus on what must urgently be done, others are long-outstanding recommendations to government, and again others are based on existing best practices that can be easily expanded upon now,” said Bossé. “My team and I continue to engage experts and New Brunswickers and encourage them to share their experiences with Youth Mental Health Services and suggest suicide prevention solutions for children and youth. I am very pleased by the response, which has been unprecedented.”
The advocate has completed 10 public consultation sessions across the province, while 736 youth and 3,368 adults have completed the online community survey. Online written formal submissions will be accepted until June 25 and professionals, community leaders, service providers and youth continue to provide feedback and be part of the solution and engage in the review process.
Members of the Youth Advisory Council, the First Nations Advisory Council and the Stakeholder Advisory Council meet regularly and guide the Child and Youth Advocate team in completing a thorough review to identify supports and systems to minimize the risk of deaths of youth to suicide.
The Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services Review was prompted by the death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken from the Fredericton region.
Bossé said he is committed to taking a child rights based approach to the issues for the review by seeking to determine whether the child’s fundamental right to life and development and right to health are sufficiently protected in New Brunswick, keeping in mind the criteria of availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“The independent investigation into government mental health services for youth is a considerable but necessary task,” said Bossé. “New Brunswickers answered the call to help us identify gaps. Now, the government needs to take concrete actions to prevent youth suicide. I believe if we explore solutions together, the opportunity for substantial change is possible.”
The Final Report for the Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services Review is slated to be published by the end of July 2021.
Heidi Cyr, communications, Office of the Child, Youth, and Seniors’ Advocate, 506-453-2789, [email protected]