Michigan Schools Ignore Suicide-Prevention Law

DETRIOT
Published: June 22, 2009

Michigan youths are more likely than the average American youth to attempt suicide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the survey, 9 percent of surveyed Michigan youths admitted to attempting suicide – the national average is 7 percent.

The survey also revealed that 27 percent of those youths had been depressed. According to federal officials, suicide is the third leading killer of teens in the United States.

The parents of a 12-year-old boy that committed suicide in 2003 fought for a law that encourages Michigan schools to teach students about depression and suicide awareness, reports the Detroit Free Press. However, the law is not enforced.

In March, a federal task force made a landmark recommendation that all youths be screened for depression, according to the news report. Yet, many schools still lack open discussion in classrooms about depression and its effects. The biggest struggle, according to advocates, is convincing educators and parents that discussions on suicide and depression are necessary in the classroom.

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According to Dr. David Rosenberg, chairman of psychiatry at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the state’s joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness fuels teen depression, and using school time for mental health education might help catch it early.

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