States Investing in Suicide Prevention Training for Schools

California Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that the final state budget includes $1.7 million to fund online suicide prevention training for teachers and students.

States Investing in Suicide Prevention Training for Schools

Indiana will now require teachers receive suicide prevention training every three years.

Several states have created funds to support suicide prevention training for students and teachers and have made significant changes to existing policies.

California Governor Jerry Brown has set aside $1.7 million to fund online suicide prevention training for all public middle and high school students and staff in the state, reports Palo Alto Online.

The education omnibus trailer bill that appropriates the funding was approved when Brown signed the final state budget Wednesday.

“It is imperative that administrators, teachers, and students have the knowledge, tools, and resources to recognize the warning signs and respond to students who need help,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman, who introduced the bill earlier this year. “Too many of our communities across California, including in the 24th Assembly District, have been affected by youth suicides. This funding is a critical step in preventing these tragedies by identifying the best online youth suicide prevention training and making it available to schools for free.”

Youth suicide has been on the rise in Santa Clara County since 2003, although the rates of suicide among youth in the county and state are lower than the national average.

The bill will require the state Department of Education to identify one or more evidence-based online training programs and provide grants to county offices of education to acquire and distribute the programs for free.

The bill also requires that the training program be consistent with the model pupil suicide prevention policy developed by the California Department of Education, address the needs of high-risk groups, track statewide usage and evaluate knowledge before and after the training is provided in order to measure its effectiveness.

According to Berman, recent research on the ability of school staff to recognize and respond to warning signs of suicide shows “a lack of experience, training, and confidence to appropriately address mental health issues and suicide ideation among students.”

Indiana, Colorado Implement Tougher Requirements

Effective July 1, Indiana lawmakers are implementing new suicide prevention training requirements for its teachers, according to WFYI.

While all Indiana teachers are required to go through suicide prevention training before obtaining a teaching license, under the new requirements, in-service educators at schools with students in fifth grade or above must complete training every three years.

So far, three programs have been approved by the state to meet the new training requirements and more than 100 school resource officers have received training to offer one of those programs.

In Colorado, schools will soon receive a total of $400,000 in state funding to train teachers, office personnel and other school employees in suicide prevention strategies, reports The Denver Post.

The school training grants will be available in January and must be used to train all school personnel on warning signs of possible suicide attempts, how to diffuse crisis situations and how to connect troubled youth to mental health services.

The grants were authorized through Senate Bill 2727, which received bipartisan support and passed just before the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that suicide rates in the state increased 34.1 percent from 1999 to 2016.

The grant money will be particularly useful in the state’s rural school districts that don’t have easy access to school therapists and counselors, officials said. The suicide rate among rural Coloradans ages 15 to 19 is double the rate of their peers in more urban areas.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Colorado for people ages 10 to 24.

About the Author

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Amy Rock is Campus Safety's senior editor. She graduated from UMass Amherst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a minor in Education.

She has worked in the publishing industry since 2011, in both events and digital marketing.

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