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Suicide prevention training measure signed into law

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor signed a measure authorizing school boards to adopt policies concerning suicide awareness and training into law on Wednesday.

House Bill 1623 allows training for teachers and students into how to recognize danger signals and prevent suicide.

According to reports, the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (DMHSAS) “shall develop and make available to school districts” the curriculum, at no cost to the schools.

Starting with the 2014-15 school year, every school district in the state may offer a suicide awareness and prevention training program.

The measure also states that school teachers, administrators and counselors must notify a student’s guardians upon determining a student is at risk of attempting suicide.

Representative Kay Floyd, author of HB 1623, said that Oklahoma has the 13th highest suicide rate, per capita, in the nation.

“Having the 13th highest rate of suicide in the nation is unacceptable,” Floyd said. “I am grateful to the members of both legislative chambers and to the Governor for acknowledging the seriousness of this issue and supporting this measure.”

The bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate and was signed Wednesday by the governor.