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Advocates Urge North Carolina Lawmakers to Expand Suicide Prevention Training in Schools

30 May 2018 — 2 min read

BY AFSP

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RALEIGH, NC (May 30, 2018) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the eleventh leading cause of death in North Carolina. Today advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers and encourage them to support House Bill 285 and Senate Bill 316 that would require K-12 educators to receive mental health and suicide prevention training.

“As mental health advocates, we are passionate about saving lives and excited about the opportunity to make personal connections with our North Carolina legislators. With this event we hope to educate our elected officials on the need to expand training in suicide awareness as a means of enhancing school safety, connecting students going through dark times with knowledgeable and caring adults, and promoting brighter futures for our youth,” Said Robert Rominger, Co-Chair of the NC Chapter Public Policy Committee.

House Bill 285 [Murphy]/Senate Bill 316 [Krawiec] would require public school personnel working directly with students to receive training in youth suicide awareness and prevention and how to identify and refer students at risk.  School personnel interact with children and teens daily and are therefore in a prime position to recognize the signs of an individual who may be at risk for suicide and make the appropriate referrals for help.  Similar to refreshers in CPR, repeat trainings in suicide prevention are essential; school personnel must be supported by clear policies and procedures, which serve as an easily-accessible roadmap, eliminate confusion over educator roles and the referral process, and equip educators with the tools to respond safely when a suicide or suicide attempt does occur in the school community.

AFSP North Carolina advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting nearly 40 state capitols across the United States in 2018 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.

Suicide in North Carolina
In 2016 North Carolina lost 1,373 residents to suicide, or one person every six hours. Suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death for North Carolina residents ages 15-34. Across the state nearly twice as many residents die by suicide than by homicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Contact:  Betsy Rhodes, AFSP North Carolina Area Director, (919) 356-2488 brhodes@afsp.org   

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