Lawmakers suggesting ideas against suicide in classroom - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Lawmakers suggesting ideas against suicide in classroom

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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:37 am

Some state lawmakers are taking the fight against teenage suicide to the classroom.

They want to pass a bill that encourages suicide prevention training for teachers.

State representative Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, worked on the bill after hearing Leann Hull's story.

15 months ago Tuesday, Hull lost her son Andy to suicide.

"We cry every day. It's hard to get up and go forward every day," she said.

At just 16 years old, she says Andy was a great athlete and a good student, but something in him changed.

That's when she says she sought out help at his school.

"I was voicing my concerns. Maybe if they had been heard, Andy would still be here," she said.

State Representative Carter wants teachers to be trained for suicide prevention..

"We do not spend enough time, if any time at all, talking about mental health issues with our students. We do not do suicide prevention training," Carter said.

Carter says that's not acceptable.

"I think we need to take time out of our busy schedules and make sure that we have a deep understanding of the warning signs, so that we can intervene when necessary," Carter said.

Leann thinks teachers have the opportunity to spot warning signs parents don't see.

"This is just the crack of the door opening, there's so much more work to do after this. But we've gotta open the door first," Hull said.

But she's not waiting on any bills to make a difference. She founded Andy Hull's Sunshine Foundation to break the silence of suicide.

In memory of what her family has lost.

"Our coping skills and ability to deal with every day may get better, some days better than others, but the pain is always there," she said.

If the bill passes it's up to teachers to decide whether they want to take suicide prevention courses.

Lawmakers say the training would not cost the state anything, since many online courses are free.

The bill went through house and moves to the senate next.

Warning signs to look for when it comes to identifying someone at risk for suicide include:

-Talks of suicide.

-Signs of depression.

-Withdrawal from family and friends

-Reckless behavior

-Dramatic changes in personality

If you suspect someone is suicidal, contact professional help immediately.

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