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“Stop Giving Me a Number and Start Giving Me a Person”: How 22 Girls Illuminate the Cracks in the Manitoba Youth Mental Health and Addiction System (2020)
Mental health and addictions issues affect Manitoba children and youth at soaring rates and, for years, demand for these health services has outpaced supply. In the last five years, suicide has become the leading manner of death for Manitoba youth ages 10-17. This special report dives into lessons learned from the suicide deaths of 22 Manitoba girls. The girls, ages 11-17, were primarily from rural and northern Manitoba communities and died between 2013 and 2019. Their struggles point to glaring cracks in provincial mental health and addiction services. The Advocate makes seven recommendations to the provincial government about how to fix these systems and therefore improve the wellbeing of Manitoba children and youth.
Click here to read the full report.
To read the news release, click here.
To read the Manitoba Advocate’s remarks, click here.
Safe and Sound: A Special Report on the Unexpected Sleep-Related Deaths of 145 Manitoba Infants
In Canada, sudden and unexplained deaths remain the second leading cause of death for infants between the ages of one and 12 months. Sleep-related infant deaths are a not only a serious public health concern, but they are also a children’s rights issue. This report addresses the extent and nature of unsafe sleep-related deaths in Manitoba, examines the barriers and gaps that prevent the reduction of known risk factors, and makes 13 targeted recommendations to increase the effectiveness and responsiveness of services for infants and their families. What you will read in this report is a clear message of hope: unsafe sleep-related deaths can be reduced in our province by addressing the known risk factors. Most sleep-related infant deaths can be prevented by reducing the known risk factors and by placing the infant alone, on their back, and in a crib for every sleep.
The Slow Disappearance of Matthew A Family’s Fight for Youth Mental Health Care in the Wake of Bullying and Mental Illness (2020)
Matthew’s story is one of a family desperate to save their son. Matthew’s six-year struggle with depression, anxiety, substance use, and persistent thoughts of suicide consumed the family. Over time, his mother lived with the fear that something would happen if she was not able to provide round-the-clock supervision and support to Matthew. It was clear to the family that the patchwork of mental health interventions being offered were not well-coordinated and were not actually helping her son to recover. Matthew had many contacts with community supports, including school-based and community-based psychologists, psychiatrists, public and private therapists, occupational therapists, doctors (his pediatrician, as well as during in-patient treatment and emergency crises), police officers, paramedics, mobile crisis teams, and CFS staff. Still, Matthew’s family had no success in getting him long-term help.
A Place Where it Feels Like Home: The Story of Tina Fontaine (2019)
Tina Fontaine might always be known for the tragic way in which she died, but it is her life that is an important story worth knowing.
It was on August 17, 2014, when most people would learn her name, but Tina’s story began long before that day. It began even before Tina was born on New Year’s Day in 1999.
To know Tina’s story, to really understand how she came to symbolize a churning anger of a nation enraged, each of us can look as far back as the arrival of European settlers, and as close to home as the depth of our own involvement or indifference in the lives and experiences of Indigenous youth.
In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story (2018)
The Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth today released her second public child death report since the expansion of her mandate earlier this year. Today’s report, In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story details the life of Angel, who died at age 17 after a lifetime of unaddressed and compounded trauma. The Manitoba Advocate discusses themes of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), sexual exploitation of children and youth, the urgent need for a continuum of care including safe and secure addition treatment for youth, and further calls on the provincial government to implement a robust youth mental health strategy, which is so desperately needed. The Advocate’s report links what happened to Angel to what is happening today for a number of youth who are connected to the advocacy program at the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth Office.
Documenting the Decline: The Dangerous Space Between Good Intentions and Meaningful Interventions (2018)
In her first publicly released child death investigation since the proclamation of The Advocate for Children and Youth Act in March 2018, Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth, Daphne Penrose, shares the story of an Indigenous youth who died tragically in a vehicle accident in a rural community.