Lawmakers look to reduce youth suicide rates

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind--Youth suicide is a growing problem in Indiana. Recently, state lawmakers have taken new steps to help reduce the rate of lives lost.

The Indiana House has approved a bill that would require schools to provide suicide prevention training for anyone in the education system that deals with kids in grades 7- 12.

Republican Rep. Julie Olthoff, who authored the bill, says if passed it would require the training to be redone every two years.

“Teachers are close to this population, they know their students, they know their friends. And so to have a little bit of training for awareness, maybe they can see some of the warning signs ahead of time,” she said.

Suicide is now the number two killer of young Hoosiers ages 15-24.  A recent study from the Indiana Youth Institute reports that 20 percent of Hoosier high schoolers, have seriously considered taking their own lives. Representatives from the IYI say increasing awareness of the “warning signs” can undoubtedly reduce suicide rates.

“So if you are seeing a teen that is sliding into that depressive area we can intervene quickly and take some action. Teen suicide is wholly preventable,” Tami Silverman of the Indiana Youth Institute said.

This bill is the second suicide prevention bill making its way through the statehouse. A recent senate bill calls for a prevention coordinator to help develop state-wide programming.

If passed Olthoff’s bill would go into effect in June of 2018.

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