Five youth suicides this year in the city of Woodstock, Ont., raise concerns
‘Suicide contagion’ effect is less pronounced in older teens.
Police in Woodstock say that five people aged 19 and under have taken their own lives since the beginning of 2016 in what an official of the Canadian Mental Health Association is calling a "suicide contagion."
The chief of police, Chief William Renton, says in the same time frame that 36 people have expressed suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide in Oxford County, which includes Woodstock and seven neighbouring communities.
The Oxford chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association operates a 24-hour crisis line in the county.
The organization's executive director for Oxford County says there's been an upswing in the number of calls to the line since late February, when the first of five young people died by suicide.
Mike McMahon says CMHA Oxford has been collaborating with police, the school board and other officials to combat what he says is a "suicide contagion," but the administrator of a Facebook group for youth in Woodstock says group members don't feel there are enough resources for them.
And some high school students in Woodstock, Ont., have called for a walkout for Tuesday to demand that their school board take their opinions into consideration.