OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a measure requiring school districts to provide suicide awareness and prevention training to teachers and staff every two years.
Senate Bill 21, written by Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, unanimously passed the State Senate.
Floyd cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Data to show that youth suicide is a worsening problem.
“Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. One in six high school students surveyed said they’d seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months, and more than seven percent had actually attempted suicide,” Floyd said. “The problem is not getting better. It’s gotten worse. We know this program is working in other states. It’s time to ensure all our schools are offering this training.”
Floyd said lawmakers previously opposed mandatory suicide and prevention training because of concerns over cost and time. She said there would be no cost and very minimal time involved.
“The material is actually provided at no cost to the school districts by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The most popular program is one called ‘At Risk,’ and it takes just one hour to complete, and it would only be once every two years,” Floyd said. “But that one hour of training could give teachers the information they need to identify children who are at risk before it’s too late.”
On Thursday, Gov. Stitt signed the measure into law.