SB 137 Aims to Train Teachers on Suicide Prevention

Legislation requiring teachers and school officials to take suicide prevention training passed the senate and now goes to the house.

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by Megan Mazurek

Legislation requiring teachers and school officials to take suicide prevention training passed the senate and now goes to the house.
Senate Bill 137, sponsored by Anchorage Senator Bettye Davis, passed the senate education committee and the senate finance committee earlier this month and is up for consideration in the house education committee.
The bill would require suicide awareness and prevention training for certain teachers, administrators, and counselors in schools across the state.
Representative Berta Gardner says the bill would be little to no cost to the taxpayer thanks to a license for an online resource from North Star Behavioral Health.
"That's really the effort, to make sure that the professionals who regularly deal with young people are willing to start the conversation, know how to do it, and know how to respond if there is a continuing level of concern," said Representative Berta Gardner, a democrat from Anchorage.
According to the Department of Health, Alaska has the highest rate of suicide per capita in the country at 22 per 100,000 people compared to the nation's rate at 12.