Changes could be coming to the Goldstream trestle after calls for suicide-prevention barriers
VICTORIA -- A call from the parents of Andre Courtemanche – who took his own life earlier this month at the Goldstream trestle – has been heard by the Island Corridor Foundation and others in the capital region.
“Last summer, on July 7, my sister jumped off the Goldstream trestle and she killed herself,” said Vincent Gornall.
After Courtemanche took his life the same way in early January, Gornall joined the call for suicide prevention barriers to be constructed along the trestle.
“The evidence is particularly strong that for locations like this, which for really awful reasons become magnets for people with suicidal ideation, we can provide proper barriers that prevent people from using those locations and from tragedies to continue happening there,” he said.
Thursday morning, the ICF will meet with Langford firefighters, West Shore RCMP and mental health stakeholders, to discuss options for the trestle.
Daria Patterson and Emma White work at Need2 Suicide Prevention. It’s an online crisis support service for people under the age of 30 with suicidal thoughts, and Patterson estimates roughly 300 young people use the service each month.
Both say they understand the call for fencing around the trestle, but proper funding from government around mental health is what is really needed.
“There is a significant lack of resources to deal with mental health issues and the resources that we do have, are severely underfunded,” said Patterson. “Hence why there are such extravagant wait times to access the services that are available.”
“What services like ours are trying to get at is making sure people are getting the services that they need before they get to that point,” added Emma White.
Gornall, in the meantime, is optimistic that Thursday’s meeting will lead to change.
“I’m hoping to have two things come out of this,” he said. “We need to have suicide prevention barriers on the trestle, which I consider to be good health care for people. I’m also looking for broader long-term support for people that are suffering from mental illness.”