The State House of Representatives passed a suicide prevention bill authored by State Rep. Frank Farina, D-Lackawanna/Wayne.
Farina’s bill, H.B. 1559, aims at reducing school-aged suicides through teacher education. Now, the bill will move to the Senate for consideration in that chamber.
The bill, Farina said, comes at a “crucial time,” because of the rise in youth suicide. He stated that his family lost a brother to suicide, which he could it may have been avoided had the the family been aware of suicide risk behaviors. With the bill, he said there ist he potential for hundreds of lives to possibly be saved. If the bill helps anyone, he said it would make it successful.
House Bill 1559 would require all 6th- through 12th-grade teachers to receive four hours of Department of Education-approved suicide awareness and prevention training every five years.
The training would fulfill a part of the regular professional continuing education training requirements under the state’s School Code.
In unique positions, Farina said the time that teachers spend with children is that of which they may observe student behaviors and the training would provide an understanding of the warning signs of potential suicidal behavior.
Should the bill become law, it would take effect beginning with the 2014-15 school year.