NEWS

Emergency declared by B.C. First Nation over suicides

05/11/2012 09:12 EDT | Updated 07/11/2012 05:12 EDT

A Vancouver Island First Nation has declared a state of emergency over a recent spate of suicides and suicide attempts.

The Cowichan Tribes say they will release more information about the deaths at a press conference in Duncan, B.C., Monday morning.

Barbara McClintock of the B.C. Coroners Service said her agency can confirm four suicides among First Nations males in the Duncan and Nanaimo areas between Feb. 26 and April 26.

McClintock says three of the men were in their 20s and 30s but one was 72 years old.

Ian Knipe, of the Vancouver Island Health Authority, says his organization met with the Cowichan Tribes, other bands and the RCMP to discuss the issue on April 25.

Knipe said suicide rates tend to be higher among First Nations and relate to issues like residential schools and aboriginals being taken into government custody as children.

In November, a coroner's review of five teen suicides over 18 months in Vancouver Island's Comox Valley found that the incidents were not related.

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