Barriers to 'immediately' be installed at Goldstream trestle as part of suicide prevention strategy
VICTORIA -- Work on safety barriers at the Goldstream trestle is slated to begin soon according to the Canadian Mental Health Association B.C. Division (CMHA BC), as part of a joint suicide prevention strategy in the region.
The barriers will be installed around parts of the rail infrastructure and other areas of the park following calls for more suicide prevention resources after a teenager took his own life at the trestle earlier this year.
"The work to put the barriers in place will begin immediately and should be completed within the coming weeks," said Larry Stevenson, CEO of the Island Corridor Foundation – which owns the trestle – in a statement Tuesday.
The Island Corridor Foundation is just one group that has been working with CMHA BC to address mental health and suicide prevention in the area.
The Canadian Mental Health Association says that municipal and provincial government leaders, first responders, educators, railway infrastructure leaders and community-sector workers have all contributed to a strategy to support mental health in the Westshore and Sooke communities.
CMHA BC CEO Jonny Morris says the group has been working on raising awareness about what mental health services are available in the community, and has been improving communication and the link between different systems of care.
The group has also been making sure that all relevant crisis measures are in place in the region and that safety upgrades were being worked on around railway infrastructure over the past several weeks.
"For every person lost to suicide, many more experience thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts," said Morris.
"Suicide is a tragedy, but it is not inevitable, and lives can be saved with the appropriate services, supports, and safety measures in place," he said.
The group now plans to hire a regional suicide prevention leader to work with community partners to expand mental health supports moving forward, including community counselling, safety improvements or any other future evidence-based measures.
"The tragedies that have taken place in the Goldstream area have shed light on an urgent public safety issue in our community," said Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.
"This working group came together quickly with a two-part plan: one that addresses the immediate need to restrict access to rail infrastructure and a second part that will see increased mental health coordination and supports in our community," he said.