Five young people have taken their own lives and dozens more have attempted to do the same in one small Ontario city.
The community has now held two meetings to discuss the suicides and more resources have been shifted to help those in crisis. A response team has also been active since the first suicide earlier this year.
High school students in Woodstock have organized a walkout on Tuesday morning to demand greater access to mental health services as well as a voice in the crisis response.
"I'm really just looking to raise awareness of the fact that we need help, as students," MacKenzie Gall, one of the students organizing the walkout, told the Woodstock Sentinel-Review.
"I feel like they're more focused on adults rather than the teenagers' opinions."
McMahon said that while CMHA doesn't necessarily support kids skipping class, they'll be in attendance.
"We're making sure that the youth there will be supported in case they're feeling triggered or sad or in need of support."
Local teens have also been sharing their stories on YOUTH Suicide Prevention in Woodstock, a Facebook group started by Gail Evraire. With a son who has dealt with depression, the 39-year-old community health student knows how difficult it can be to access help.
Evraire said the group has also had four cases where there was reason to believe a commenter was thinking of ending their life. In all four cases police were called and the commenters in question were able to access support services.
Are you or someone you know in crisis?
Find a crisis centre here, or call:
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
LGBT Youth Line: 1-800-268-9688
Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366
Lauren Strapagiel is Managing Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Contact Lauren Strapagiel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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