New Jersey bill to require teachers get more suicide prevention training

25 Jan

The New Jersey legislature wants to give teachers more training in suicide prevention. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL):

  • 19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

  • 14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,

  • 900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

While suicide does not seem terribly common, it is nevertheless a major cause of death. The CDC reports that it is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. The only two things that cause more death among teenagers are accidents (usually in the car) and homicide. And even younger children do not escape. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 14.

Gender differences in teen suicide

Teen suicide statistics show differences in the ways boys and girls handle suicide. While girls think about attempted suicide about twice as much as boys, boys are actually four times more likely than girls to actually die by killing themselves….                         

The Centers for Disease Control list some risk factors for teen suicide:

Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur.

Risk factors:

  • History of previous suicide attempts

  • Family history of suicide

  • History of depression or other mental illness

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Stressful life event or loss

  • Easy access to lethal methods

  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others

  • Incarceration                                                                                                                                                          

The goal of a proposed bill in New Jersey is early identification and intervention for children at risk of suicide.

Michael Catalini of Associated Press reported in Teachers would get more training on suicide under bill:

Public school teachers would undergo more suicide prevention education under a proposal from a bipartisan group of New Jersey lawmakers.

An Assembly committee approved the measure late last year while Republican state Sen. Diane Allen introduced a similar bill in the Senate this month.

The bill requires public school teachers and staff to receive two hours of suicide prevention training from a licensed health care professional every year, up from the current requirement of two hours over five years.

Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt said she and her colleagues are pursuing the change now because of the increased use of technology by students and the rise of bullying over text messages that could contribute to suicides.

The requirement that teachers undergo suicide prevention education reaches back to 2005 legislation that established the current requirement. Gov. Richard Codey signed the bill into law in 2006, making New Jersey the first state in the country to enact such a requirement.

New Jersey has a youth suicide rate of about 5 per 100,000 people, compared with nearly 8 per 100,000 nationally in 2012, the most recently available statistics from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. The report defines youth as people from ages 10 to 24.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10- to 24-year-olds in New Jersey. From 2011 to 2013, 232 people in that age group committed suicides, according to the department….                 

People of all ages may have feelings of profound sadness, loss, and depression. There is no one on earth, despite what the ads attempt to portray, who lives a perfect life. Every life has flaws and blemishes; it is just that some cope better than others. For every person who lives to a ripe old age, during the course of that life they may encounter all types of loss from loss of a loved one through death, divorce or desertion, loss of job, financial reverses, illness, dealing with A-holes and twits, plagues, pestilence, and whatever curse can be thrown at a person. The key is that they lived THROUGH whatever challenges they faced AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME. Woody Allen said something like “90% of life is simply showing up.” Let me add a corollary, one of the prime elements of a happy life is to realize that whatever moment you are now in, it will not last forever and that includes moments of great challenge. A person does not have to be religious to appreciate the story of Job. The end of the story is that Job is restored. He had to endure much before the final victory, though.


Suicide Prevention                                                                                                                   

Teen Suicide Overview                                                                                                           

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