North Shore teens in crisis

With the number of teens visiting Lions Gate ER for mental health problems doubling in three years, youth advocates are calling for more services.

ImageDan’s 15-year-old daughter began wearing long-sleeve shirts after she started cutting herself.

Bullies at her high school on the North Shore were relentless, taunting her online, calling her names and physically hurting her.

She spiraled into depression and, not seeing a way out, soon became suicidal.

One particularly bad evening she wound up in Lions Gate ER suffering from extreme anxiety. She waited eight hours to be admitted, says her father, was given Ativan to calm her down and eventually transferred to BC Children’s Hospital for treatment.

After spending three days at the hospital, the diagnosis: Post traumatic stress.

“We wanted to stay away from pills but eventually we had to go there,” Dan tells The Outlook, visibly concerned for his teenage daughter.

Despite several school programs on the North Shore that help with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, the family decided home schooling was the best option.

While the circumstances vary greatly, cases of teens in crisis have been steadily increasing on the North Shore.

Over a three-year period in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Lions Gate emergency room visits for depression, suicidal thoughts and self-harm have more than doubled for teens.

Noticing an increase in youth mental health problems, Dr. Tom Barnett, a psychiatrist on the North Shore, commissioned a report to show the exact numbers.

In line with his prediction, ER visits have shot up in recent years.

Continue reading North Shore teens in crisis

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Surprised West Van candidates

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The Liberal win last night sure took the two main West Vancouver-Capilano candidates by surprise.

Before the poles closed NDP candidate Terry Platt told supporters at her campaign office, “I know that we will form government and whether I am part of the government is up to the voters.”

Over at Liberal incumbent Ralph Sultan’s campaign office, the crowd was optimistic from the get-go about Sultan’s victory. But many weren’t expecting a Liberal win, including Sultan himself.

After Global News declared him the local winner, he thanked the crowd for their support of his campaign despite Christy Clark likely not making it.

To the shock on many present, the Liberals were soon declared the winners.

After the official results were in, Platt told me, “I though we would do much better. We’re all surprised but that’s the will of the voters.”

I’m guessing opinion poles will be taken with a big grain of salt next election.

West Van’s “shantytown”?

A building on the north side of the 1300-block of Marine Drive in Ambleside has remained vacant since a fire last year.
A building on the north side of the 1300-block of Marine Drive in Ambleside has remained vacant since a fire last year.

West Vancouver is one of Canada’s wealthiest communities but boarded-up stores and empty lots have the mayor and others calling a certain section of the Ambleside-area a “shantytown.”

While this characterization is a stretch, the point they’re trying to make is that Ambleside desperately needs improvement.

And the nicknames don’t stop there.

“Our real estate agents refer to the 1300-block… as the Gaza Strip. A great comment on Canada’s most desirable residential community,” Mayor Michael Smith noted during a March council meeting. “It’s a disgrace. We’ve sat here as citizens and allowed it to go on.”

In the heart of Ambleside on the 1300-block, a building with boarded-up doors that has sat vacant since a fire in October is an example of how these unflattering nicknames began. Beside it an empty lot is fenced off until a gas station moves in.

Continue reading West Van’s “shantytown”?

Should West Van get a new waterfront restaurant? These people say no way

WORLD-CLASS VIEW - Last January, North Vancouver resident Linda O’Day stood near the possible location of a new waterfront restaurant. Whether one could be built depends on council’s decision.
WORLD-CLASS VIEW – Last January, North Vancouver resident Linda O’Day stood near the possible location of a new waterfront restaurant. Whether one could be built depends on council’s decision.

A restaurant on Ambleside’s waterfront is a bad idea, according to many people who spoke up at a public hearing Monday evening.Along with food carts, sidewalk dining and festivals, it’s a possibility being considered for Ambleside revitalization.

A house currently sits at the prospective seaside lot on the 1400-block of Argyle Avenue, which the district now owns, but would be torn down if the restaurant is a go. The property would remain in the municipality’s possession while the full-service restaurant is run by a private owner.

But this restaurant shouldn’t be built, said some West Van residents at the public hearing.

“Why do we need the restaurant on the waterfront? We don’t,” said Ambleside resident Paul Hundal. “There’s no reason why people can’t walk across the street to Bellevue (Avenue).”

Continue reading Should West Van get a new waterfront restaurant? These people say no way