A dad and his 12-year-old son are hoping one small act will be enough to save even one person from another tragic death at the Goldstream Trestle.
Just before sunset on Thursday, the pair hiked up to the train trestle bridge to install a number of laminated signs reading ‘There’s always hope’ and listing a crisis line number. The two have asked not to be named out of a desire for the focus to remain on the issue at hand – a severe lack of mental health support for youth.
|A memorial erected in honour of Langford teen Andre Courtemanche sits at the base of the Niagara Falls. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)|
Three weeks ago, the body of a 16-year-old Langford teenager was found near the trestle. Eight days prior, Andre Courtemanche had stormed out of his house after having an argument with his parents.
Courtemanche’s parents said the teen struggled with anxiety and depression and had expressed thoughts of hurting himself. He was bullied when he attended Belmont Secondary School and had been waiting to get in to see a psychiatrist for two years.
Since Courtemanche’s death, there have been calls for increased mental health support and the installation of barriers at the Goldstream Trestle.
Barriers can help to prevent suicide in a specific location, Brianna Turner, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Victoria, said speaking with Black Press Media earlier this month.
“If we can buy them a couple hours or a couple days, those feelings are likely to change,” she said. “I think that’s where barriers can be really effective, it’s really about buying that time to help the person get through to the other side of the wave and engage some of their support.”
The Island Health Corridor Foundation said it is putting together a committee to discuss the feasibility of barriers, but CEO Larry Stevenson also noted that the trestle is technically private property.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the provincial suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-suicide (1-800-784-2433), or visit crisislines.bc.ca to find local mental health and crisis resources.
Black Press Media has also prepared mental health and overdose prevention resource guides filled with information specific to Greater Victoria, you can find them under e-editions at goldstreamgazette.com.
–With files from Nina Grossman
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