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Saskatchewan Health Authority issues apology to Samwel Uko’s family, admits failure

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan Health Authority issues apology to Samwel Uko’s family, admits failure' Saskatchewan Health Authority issues apology to Samwel Uko’s family, admits failure
WATCH: The Saskatchewan Health Authority admits it failed Samwel Uko, after the young man took his own life in Regina's Wascana Lake on May 21. As Global’s Jon Guignard explains, the SHA acknowledged more could have been done to prevent his death. – Jul 22, 2020

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it failed Samwel Uko, a 20-year-old B.C. resident, whose body was pulled from Wascana Lake in Regina on May 21.

SHA admitted this in a letter of apology issued to Uko’s family on July 17, received on Tuesday.

“I appreciate there are no words that can bring Samwel back, but I want you to know that we recognize how deeply we failed him,” SHA said in the letter, signed by CEO Scott Livingstone.

“I extend this apology and condolences on behalf of the Saskatchewan Health Authority to your entire family, and most especially you, Samwel’s parents (Joice Bokando and Taban Uko).”

Read more: Video appears to show cry for help from man later found dead in Wascana Lake in Regina

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Since Uko’s death, the family has been searching for answers, trying to piece together how he ended up in Wascana Lake after seeking help twice at the Regina General Hospital the day he died.

According to his uncle Justin Nyee, SHA previously told him protocol was not followed when the young man was escorted out of the hospital by security shortly before his body was discovered.

The visit was the second time Uko sought help that day.

His cousin previously told Global News that he initially took him to the hospital on the morning of May 21, saying he was in a state of mental distress.

Nyee said that during the first visit his nephew was seen by a doctor and given a prescription, although it was never filled.

Read more: Saskatchewan to launch inquest into death of Samwel Uko

He also said Uko was referred to a mental health clinic and despite admitting he had thoughts of suicide, the clinic deemed his condition mild.

On June 19, the province announced it would be conducting an inquest into Uko following pressure from the Saskatchewan NDP.

The province said the date and location of the inquest would be determined at a later date.

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Its inquest is separate from SHA’s investigation.

“I want you to be reassured that we are committed to enhance access to mental health supports across the Saskatchewan,” SHA said in its letter.

“Samwel’s tragic experience with our health system will strengthen our resolve to advance this work.”

Saskatchewan Health Authority letter addressed to the family of Samwel Uko.
Saskatchewan Health Authority letter addressed to the family of Samwel Uko. Provided / Justin Nyee

Global News reached out to the family, who were busy at the time to comment, but will speak at a later date.

Global News also spoke with SHA regarding the matter and although it did not provide comment, it said it will be releasing more information regarding the investigation on Thursday.

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan to launch inquest into death of Samwel Uko' Saskatchewan to launch inquest into death of Samwel Uko
Saskatchewan to launch inquest into death of Samwel Uko – Jun 20, 2020

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please reach out. Resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

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The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.