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More than 5,800 youth suicides across Canada signals mental health ‘crisis’

More than 5,800 youth suicides across Canada signals mental health ‘crisis’

At the age of 15, Laurissa Rose Degraw attempted to take her own life for the first time.

Over the next five years, she tried four more times.

“She made it very clear that this is how her life would end,” says her mother, Aimee Huitema. “She said it to me. She said it to her social worker. She said it to her doctors that she would take her life one day.”

More than 5,800 Canadian children and youth have died by suicide during the past 13 years across Canada — some as young as 8 years old, according to data compiled by a Toronto Star/Ryerson School of Journalism investigation from coroners’ offices in all provinces and territories except Nunavut.

Suicide is second only to accidents as the leading cause of death for young people in Canada.

In 2005, 146 people between the ages of 8 and 24 died by suicide in Ontario, according to coroner data. In 2016, the figure was 181.

Degraw was 20 when ended her life on a summer evening in July of 2016, hours after she returned home from a week at the family’s Lake Huron cottage.

“We had an amazing few days at the beach with my parents and my younger daughter Lily. Everything was perfect,” says Huitema.

But upon their return home, Degraw told her mother she wanted to go for a walk after dinner. She would never return.

In what was at least her fifth attempt at suicide, she hanged herself. Police found her body a two-minute walk from her house in Ingersoll, Ont.

Despite dedicated government mental health campaigns aimed at young people over the past two decades, youth suicide rates have remained steady. Some provinces have seen increases in recent years.

In Saskatchewan, 36 young people killed themselves in 2005; that number jumped to 54 last year. In British Columbia, the number rose to 114 from 78 a decade earlier. In Nova Scotia, the figures more than doubled in that same time frame.

Deaths are only recorded as suicide if the intent is clear. Experts estimate that for every completed suicide, between 10 and 100 suicides are attempted.

A 2016 survey of 1,319 Canadian teens aged 13 to 18 conducted by Kids Help Phone found one in five seriously considered suicide.

The coroners’ data does not break out ethnicity or race. But Health Canada data shows suicide is the leading cause of death for Canadian Aboriginal youth, where the rate of suicide is five to 11 times higher than for non-Indigenous populations.

“Kids are suffering,” says McMaster University assistant clinical professor Dr. Catharine Munn. “One student told me it felt (like) she was screaming at the top of her lungs, but no one was listening.”

National data on youth hospitalization for mental health issues also show a steady upward trend. Since 2007, emergency department mental health visits for patients aged 5 to 24 have jumped 66 per cent, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. One in 12 was given mood/anxiety or antipsychotic medication.

Hospitalizations related to intentional self-harm increased by 102 per cent for girls aged 10 to 17 between 2009 and 2014 (four times higher than boys), CIHI data shows.

“It’s like cancer. But we ignored it for decades, and now we’re surprised?” says Munn.

While governments have acknowledged the crisis — and responded with millions of dollars in funding and programs — there have been few signs the problem is abating.

Kimberly Moran, CEO of Children’s Mental Health Ontario, says there needs to be counselling and therapy for moderate mental health issues as well as specialized mental health services for those who may be suicidal and require 24/7 intensive treatment.

“Treating a child who is sad or depressed is much less money than it is for a child that is critically ill and in a hospital, and that’s certainly what happened to us. Once my daughter became suicidal then she had to be put in an in-patient unit in the hospital,” says Moran.

Dirk Huyer, chief coroner of Ontario, says coroners don’t have the expertise to understand all underlying factors. “Clearly, all of us in this society recognize that this is an important issue and an issue that continues to occur and that many in society are trying to figure the underlying factors,” he says.

One factor is bullying which has escalated and intensified on social media and brought into the national spotlight after the suicides of 15-year-olds Amanda ToddJamie Hubley and Todd Loik, as well as Rehtaeh Parsons, 17.

“Suicide happens in the darkest moments of your life where you feel like nothing else can help solve your problems,” says Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother. “They think that if they disappear off the earth, all their pain will go away. They don’t think beyond how much it can hurt the people around them or if there’s a tomorrow that will be brighter.

“I was afraid that if you said the word (suicide) then you would implant the idea, but the idea is already implanted in their head,” she says.

Amanda died in October 2012 at her home in Port Coquitlam, B.C. About a month before, she had posted a video to YouTube entitled “My Story” and used flash cards to tell about being bullied. She also left a video message to her parents on her cellphone. Carol still hasn’t been able to watch.

“With teenagers, it’s like someone can say, ‘I hate you, I don’t want to be your friend and I’m going to tell everyone all the bad things about you,’ and that will be enough to spiral everyone down, especially if they’re vulnerable to start with,” she says.

Marshall Korenblum, psychiatrist-in-chief at the Sick Kids Centre for Community Mental Health, says that while bullying among youth has been around for hundreds of years, social media has compounded its impact.

“You can basically spread a rumour now to hundreds of people with one click of the button so bullying is old as the hills but social media makes it faster, more widespread and easier to be anonymous,” Korenblum says.

Then there’s the growing exposure young people have to suicide — even the celebration of self harm — on television and social media which can trigger the minds of young children.

“If you’re at all thinking about suicide and you wanted to learn how to cut yourself, or if you’re anorexic and you want to learn how to starve yourself, there’s a lot of websites out there that tell you how to do that,” he said.

The Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has generated controversy across school boards in Canada for its portrayal of suicide. Some elementary schools sent out emails to parents to let them know students were prohibited from even mentioning the show on school grounds.

Depression — among the most common forms of mental disorders amongst youth — is also a factor.

Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley’s son, Jamie, was battling depression after being verbally and physically bullied throughout elementary and high school.

The bullying began escalating on the school bus when Jamie, a figure skater, was in Grade 7 and continued into high school as he was constantly teased for being openly gay.

“You feel helpless,” says Allan. “You can’t get them help when you’re trying to get them help. It just wasn’t available.”

Jamie died by suicide in 2011.

Gay youth are four times more likely to die by suicide than heterosexual youth, due in large part to bullying and negative family attitudes, U.S. studies have shown.

Jamie’s father is still struggling to understand how it happened.

“Why are (kids) coming to that conclusion?” asks Allan. “What’s going on today that kids are deciding that the best way to deal with this is to end their lives?”

With files from David Lao/Ryerson School of Journalism

Where to get help

Distress and Crisis Ontario: http://www.dcontario.org/centres.html

Your Life Counts: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/ (enter Canada/Ontario)

Youthline (support for LGBT youth): http://www.youthline.ca/

ConnexOntario (all ages): 1-866-531-2600

Good2Talk (post-secondary student helpline): 1-866-925-5454

Kids Help Phone (general counselling line): 1-800-668-6868

Online chat/text/email:

Youthspace: http://youthspace.ca/

Ontario crisis text (2 p.m. -2 a.m. ET): 741-741

Ontario Crisis Chat ( 2 p.m. – 2 a.m. ET): www.dcontario.org/ontx.html

YouthSpace: 778-783-0177 (6 p.m. – 12 a.m. PST) or youthtalk2@pcfsa.org

Other/national:

Canada Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS) in French or English: toll-free 1-833-456-4566 (24/7)

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness 24/7 Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

Canadian Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

Trans LifeLine (all ages): 1-877-330-6366

Receiving a disclosure of abuse: How to respond when a child shares their story with you

Receiving a disclosure of abuse: How to respond when a child shares their story with you

The Zebra Centre’s Becci Watson, Director of Justice Partnerships & Supports, shares how to respond to a disclosure of child abuse, and the important role you play in making sure that child feels heard and believed.

 

Time to confront #MeToo in medicine, CMAJ editorial argues

Time to confront #MeToo in medicine, CMAJ editorial argues

The medical community is plagued by bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination, according to a new editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that says the hierarchical culture that allows silence needs to change.

The editorial, published Monday, questions why medicine hasn’t had its own #MeToo moment and suggests built-in biases and unprofessional workplaces may be the culprit.

“As a profession, we need to stop excusing unprofessional behaviour toward colleagues just because physicians are accomplished in clinical care or academia,” wrote authors Jayna Holroyd-Leduc, deputy department head of medicine at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and Sharon Straus, director of the Knowledge Translation Program at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute in Toronto.

The #MeToo movement, which encourages people to speak out about sexual harassment and violence, has touched numerous industries, from film to journalism and politics, in recent months. The editorial states that even though a prominent male physician hasn’t been in the #MeToo spotlight, the work force faces many problems with harassment, bullying and other forms of abuse and needs to find solutions.

While research has shown women, particularly students and trainees, may be most susceptible to harassment in medicine, Dr. Holroyd-Leduc said men are also affected. Part of the problem is the nature of medicine, which involves years of training, long hours and high stress levels, can contribute to an unhealthy, unprofessional work environment, she said. MORE

Sexual harassment still an all-too-real problem in Canadian business

Sexual harassment still an all-too-real problem in Canadian business

2,000 Canadians surveyed by Navigator in February (2018), over one third of female respondents said they had been sexually harassed at work. 12 per cent of men said they had been sexually harassed at work. Another report, this time conducted by the Gandolf Group, showed that 94 per cent of executives think sexual harassment is not a problem, and four in five Canadians said they had “unwanted experiences at work, and didn’t report it to their employers.” MORE

Respect Group is Officially Certified As A B Corp!

Respect Group is Officially Certified As A B Corp!

Respect Group is extremely PROUD to announce that we are officially certified as a B Corp™!

To become accredited, corporations must undertake a rigorous application process that requires detailed responses and supporting justification to 161 key questions. Criteria includes;

  • proof of improving the quality of life in their community
  • proof of positive educational outcomes from learning products offered
  • proof of a formal charitable “designed to give” process that exceeds industry norms
  • proof of providing higher quality jobs/employee benefits that exceed industry norms
  • proof of providing diversity and inclusion training financial and operational transparency with complete disclosures
  • meeting legal requirements

 

There are over 2512 accredited B Corps world-wide and 235 in Canada. Becoming a B Corp has been a lengthy and arduous pursuit, but one that we felt was critical for our team of over 30 professionals and our +600 valued partners/customers that include governments, universities, private enterprise, schools, sport and youth serving organizations.

We’ve been here for 14 years however, time in business (for us), is not enough.

Credibility, accountability and our values, inside and outside of our workplace are what matter most.

Remaining B Corp certified is an ongoing process but, for a moment, we wanted to pause, be proud and be grateful for each of you who have put your trust in us. This achievement represents the very best in business collaboration….Thank You!

 

To Learn More About B Corp Go To:
www.bcorporation.net

 

Former NHLer, sex abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy applauds new rule that makes reporting abuse in sports a priority

Former NHLer, sex abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy applauds new rule that makes reporting abuse in sports a priority

CALGARY—Former NHL hockey player and sex abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy says that a recent federal announcement requiring sports bodies to report and investigate abuse allegations is a constructive step toward child and youth safety.

On June 19, sport minister Kirsty Duncan announced the new requirement. National sports bodies that receive federal money “must immediately disclose any incident of abuse, discrimination or harassment to the Minister of Sport,” she said……

…Hockey Calgary executive director Kevin Kobelka is also supportive of the announcement.

The minor hockey association he helps manage covers male and female hockey players from the Timbits age group (four and five years old) up to junior-B hockey (16 to 21 years old).

“(We) were the first organization to implement Respect in Sport since 2010,” he said. “Hockey Alberta followed suit and mandated its training after.”

The training program is part of a larger group co-founded by Kennedy called Respect Group Inc. Its goal is to empower people in sports to recognize and prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

The Calgary hockey association requires all coaches to take Respect in Sport’s training program and, starting this year, to get recertified every four years Kobelka said. MORE

RESPECT GROUP APPLAUDS MINISTER DUNCAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF FUNDING AGREEMENTS TO END ABUSE, HARASSMENT + DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT

RESPECT GROUP APPLAUDS MINISTER DUNCAN’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF FUNDING AGREEMENTS TO END ABUSE, HARASSMENT + DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT

 

June 19, 2018
For Immediate Release

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced stronger measures to eliminate harassment in the Canadian sport system.

“All Canadians deserve to participate and compete in a sport environment, free from harassment, abuse or discrimination, regardless of gender, race, religion, language, age and ability. The Government of Canada recognizes the presence of harassment, abuse and discrimination in sport and is committed to stopping further instances.”

New provisions in funding agreements will support eligible sport organizations in fostering healthy and safe workplace environments.

Effective immediately:

 

  • Federally funded sport organizations must take all necessary measures to create a workplace free from harassment, abuse or discrimination of any kind.
  • They must immediately disclose any incident of harassment, abuse or discrimination that could compromise the project or programming to the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
  • They must make provisions—within their governance framework—for access to an independent third party to address harassment and abuse cases.
  • They must provide mandatory training on harassment and abuse to their members by April 1, 2020 and are challenged to make this a priority and put mandatory training in place as soon as possible.

 

“Harassment of any kind is completely unacceptable, and the safety and security of athletes, coaches and officials is always our top priority. We all must play a role in protecting our young people and our athletes: to speak up when we see something that doesn’t seem quite right and to listen—really listen—to our athletes. And most importantly, to act when the situation demands it to ensure our athletes always have the support they need from us.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

__________________________________________________________________________________

Respect Group was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Offering certification programs for Community/Sport Organizations (Respect in Sport), Schools and the Workplace, Respect Group has certified over 1,000,000 Canadians.

 

We welcome and encourage sport organizations to view our programs at: www.respectinsport.com

For more information please email: info@respectgroupinc.com

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FOR ABUSE-FREE SPORT: UNANIMOUS MOTION AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY Quebec is the first province to react

FOR ABUSE-FREE SPORT: UNANIMOUS MOTION AT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY Quebec is the first province to react

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

Quebec City, Quebec, June 12, 2018 – This morning, four of Bertrand Charest’s 12 victims, Geneviève Simard, Anna Prchal, Gail Kelly and Émilie Cousineau, accompanied by JD Miller, B2ten president and co-founder, and Dominick Gauthier, B2ten co-founder and program director, attended the National Assembly of Quebec. On this occasion, the Minister of Education, Leisure and Sport (MELS) filed a motion to develop a government plan to prevent all forms of sexual, physical and psychological abuse in sport.

 

Adopted unanimously in a spirit of non-partisanship, the motion calls for the MELS to implement an action plan by 2020. The 12 victims asked that the plan contain the following:

  • an amendment to the province’s sport federation recognition program (PQRFSQ) requiring that an action plan be adopted and submitted to prevent physical, psychological, emotional and sexual abuse in sport in Quebec;
  • mandatory training for coaches, athletes, volunteers and all other persons in contact with athletes;
  • accountability on the part of sport federations;
  • clearly defined policies and procedures to protect athletes;
  • a safe and independent approach to allow athletes and others in the sport world to report incidents;
  • an independent body to investigate complaints;
  • that the federations’ funding be contingent on compliance with the action

 

“This is an important day for the 12 victims, who have acted with determination to shine a spotlight on this significant problem in our society. The Government of Quebec has heard them and taken the necessary measures to prevent all forms of abuse in sport,” said JD Miller. “On behalf of B2ten, I would like to thank all the members of the National Assembly. Your unanimous adoption of this motion sends a strong, clear message to the other provinces and territories, and to Ottawa.”

 

“I’m extremely proud that I’ve been able to help make a difference in protecting athletes, regardless of their sport. It wasn’t easy to relive those moments, but knowing that regulations will be put in place to prevent abuse makes it worthwhile,” said Geneviève Simard.

 

“We decided to speak publicly because of all the encouragement we received from parents and other athletes. With an action plan to prevent all forms of abuse, I would feel more comfortable letting my children join a sport federation one day,” said Gail Kelly. “This past week has been particularly emotional. We received truly incredible, comforting support. You can tell that this issue strikes a chord with Quebecers and Canadians. I know that going public was the right choice now that I see things moving in the right direction,” said Anna Prchal.

 

“If our story inspires others to confide in someone, to seek help, that’s a victory in itself. With a program in place, athletes will be better protected,” said Émilie Cousineau.

 

“Quebec has always been a leader in amateur sport development. This was clearly demonstrated this morning. We hope that the other provinces and the federal government will quickly follow suit so that all athletes can practice sport in an abuse-free environment,” stated JD Miller.

 

– 30 –

 

 

For information

 

French media:       English media:

Marie-Christine Garon                                        Colin Danby

NATIONAL Public Relations                               NATIONAL Public Relations

mcgaron@national.ca                                        cdanby@national.ca

514-409-0031                                                      514-679-1622

Canadian athletes speak out in Calgary to end abuse in sport

Canadian athletes speak out in Calgary to end abuse in sport

Two victims of former Canadian National ski coach, Bertrand Charest, are calling for sweeping changes to end sexual abuse in sport and were in the city on Friday to share their stories with Calgarians.

Former professional skiers Genevieve Simard and Amelie-Frederique Gagnon are among several women who were sexually assaulted by Charest….

The two women are advocating for a protection program that includes mandatory training for all coaches, volunteers, and everyone in the entourage of an athlete.

“The reason we wanted to come out in the public eye on Monday and give our press conference is to give the biggest impact possible to put a face on the twelve of us and what has happened and we want to create awareness to everybody in the country because we want to ensure that safe, that sports become safe for our children, for the next generation and that’s why we’re doing this. We want to take this horrible chapter in our lives and we want to turn it into something positive and that’s making sure these kinds of abuse never happen again and we need the government in helping us achieve that,” said Simard. MORE

RESPECT GROUP CALLS FOR GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY TO KEEP CANADIAN SPORT FREE FROM MALTREATMENT

RESPECT GROUP CALLS FOR GREATER ACCOUNTABILITY TO KEEP CANADIAN SPORT FREE FROM MALTREATMENT

 

Voir plus bas pour la version en français

 

June 6, 2018

Respect Group commends the bravery of the former members of the National Ski Team, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, Gail Kelly, Anna Prchal and Geneviève Simard and the many other women who have come forward to disclose their stories and share their collective goal in calling for safer sport. They represent a multitude of past victims and their voices have already inspired other courageous individuals to come forward.

 

Respect Group also applauds the leadership of B2Ten, the Coaching Association of Canada, the Sport Dispute and Resolution Centre of Canada and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for bringing this critical topic to the forefront and advocating for sport that is free from maltreatment. These recommendations include;

 

  • Mandatory online training as to rights, responsibilities, obligations and awareness for athletes, coaches, professional service providers and management;
  • Development, adoption and adherence of Policies and Procedures to prevent all forms of maltreatment;
  • An independent avenue for parties to raise concerns when issues arise;
  • The rule of two; insuring, within reason, that young athletes are not left on their own with a coach, staff or other personnel for an extended duration.

 

 

__________________________________________________________________________________

Respect Group was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Offering certification programs for Community/Sport Organizations (Respect in Sport), Schools and the Workplace, Respect Group has certified over 1,000,000 Canadians.

 

 

 

RESPECT GROUP EN APPELLE À UNE PLUS GRANDE IMPUTABILITÉ POUR GARDER LE SPORT CANADIEN À L’ABRI DE LA MALTRAITANCÉ

 

6 juin 2018

Respect Group salue la bravoure des anciens membres de l’équipe nationale de ski, Amélie-Frédérique Gagnon, Gail Kelly, Anna Prchal et Geneviève Simard et les nombreuses autres femmes qui ont dévoilé leur histoire et partagé leur objectif commun en réclamant une sécurité accrue en sport. Elles  représentent une multitude de victimes passées, et leurs voix ont déjà inspiré d’autres personnes courageuses à se manifester.

 

Respect Group applaudit également le leadership de B2dix, l’Association canadienne des entraîneurs, le Centre de règlement des différends sportifs du Canada et le Centre canadien de protection de l’enfance pour avoir porté ce sujet critique au premier plan et exigé un sport exempt de  maltraitance. Ces recommandations comprennent :

 

  • Une formation en ligne obligatoire sur les droits, les responsabilités, les obligations et la sensibilisation des athlètes, des entraîneurs, des fournisseurs de services professionnels et de la direction;
  • L’élaboration, l’adoption et l’adhésion aux politiques et procédures visant à prévenir toutes les formes de maltraitance;
  • Un canal indépendant offert à toutes les parties pour partager les préoccupations lorsque des problèmes surviennent;
  • La règle de deux : s’assurer, dans la mesure du possible, que les jeunes athlètes ne soient pas seuls avec un entraîneur ou tout membre du personnel pendant une période prolongée.

 

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Respect Group a été constitué le 5 avril 2004 par les cofondateurs Sheldon Kennedy et Wayne McNeil pour poursuivre une passion commune: la prévention de l’intimidation, de l’abus, du harcèlement et de la discrimination. Offrant des programmes de certification pour les organismes communautaires / sportifs (Respect et sport), les écoles et le milieu de travail, Respect Group a certifié plus de 1,000,000 de Canadiens.

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