Mountie tried to stop teen in distress from falling from overpass onto highway

·2 min read
RCMP responded to a report of a youth in mental distress Monday night. (Daniel McHardie - image credit)
RCMP responded to a report of a youth in mental distress Monday night. (Daniel McHardie - image credit)

A police watchdog agency has been asked to review what happened when a teen suffering a mental health emergency fell from a highway overpass in Oromocto while RCMP tried to intervene.

According to a news release, Oromocto RCMP got a call about a "teenager in mental distress" on the Highway 2 overpass on Waasis Road at about 10:15 p.m. on Monday. Spokesperson Hans Ouellette said that "during the response," the teen climbed over the overpass railing.

"The member who attended there attempted to hold on to the teen, but was unsuccessful, unfortunately," Ouellette said. "And the teen did fall onto the highway below."

The officer administered first aid until paramedics arrived, and the teen was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

RCMP said they're asking the Serious Incident Response Team, an independent organization in Nova Scotia, to review how officers handled the situation.

"We just wanted to ensure that SIRT reviewed the actions to ensure that we did everything that we could," Oullette said.

He said RCMP can't comment further on the teen's personal medical information or provide any further details about the teenager involved in this incident.

He also said he couldn't say anything more about how the person ended up falling from the railing down to the highway.

"The details of that are part of that investigation, which is also, you know, being reviewed by SIRT," he said.

Ouellette said that the force requested the review right after the scene was cleared because of the of the "seriousness" of the situation.

"It was proactively determined by the RCMP that the incident would benefit from an external review in the interest of public accountability and transparency," he said.

RCMP members involved have access to support services, the release said.

New Brunswick does not have an independent police watchdog organization, which is why the RCMP asked the Nova Scotia agency to take on the review.

The results of SIRT investigations are usually presented to the Department of Justice and Public Safety. Ouellette said the RCMP were not given a timeline for the investigation.

According to the New Brunswick Health Council, 30 per cent of youth said they've felt the need to see someone for a mental or emotional problem they were having.

One in every 10 did not see someone. The council says this represents about 3,900 New Brunswick youth with perceived mental health needs that are not met for reasons such as access, awareness and stigma.

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, after accidents, suicide was the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.25 in 2018.

If you need help:

CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.

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