Parents of Langford teen found dead call for stronger mental-health supports
Published Monday, January 11, 2021 4:36PM PST Last Updated Monday, January 11, 2021 7:03PM PST
VICTORIA -- Flowers lie at the base of a waterfall in Goldstream Provincial Park for 16-year-old Andre Courtemanche.
On Saturday evening, the Langford teen's body was found in the park by members of the Juan De Fuca and Metchosin search and rescue teams.
“(I’m) really feeling for the family right now,” said search volunteer Kirsten Marten. “I think that we’re all just holding them in our hearts.”
Courtemanche walked away from his family home on New Year’s Day following an argument with his parents.
His mother tells CTV News that he struggled with anxiety and depression for almost two years.
“And when the pandemic struck, it made it harder for people who are already suffering, and for him it definitely made it harder,” said Denise Courtemanche.
Clinical counsellor Janelle Breese Biagioni says mental-health resources can be difficult to access right now due to lengthy referral processes and wait lists.
“We need to expand those services and that can be challenging,” said Breese Biagioni with the Constable Gerald Breese Centre For Traumatic Life Losses.
“If you’re really feeling isolated and things are getting harder, I would start reaching out and connecting with people that you know that could be of support to you until you can get in to an appointment,” she added.
Marten has been helping to manage a Facebook group where condolences for the Courtemanche family have been pouring in. She has also become close with the teen’s family and says that just last week Andre finally got an appointment scheduled with a psychiatrist but it was too late.
"I think a lot of us are feeling that it’s too little, too late, and it’s time for some change and that’s really resonating with a lot of the messages we’re getting,” said Marten.
In addition to better mental-health supports, the family is also calling for a protective barrier to be installed along the Niagara trestle in Goldstream Provincial Park.