- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska public school teachers, nurses and administrators would receive at least an hour of suicide awareness and prevention training each year under a proposal presented to a legislative committee Monday.

Sen. Amanda McGill of Lincoln, who introduced the bill, said it’s intended to save lives.

Fourteen percent of Nebraska high school students surveyed seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, according to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Eight percent attempted suicide, according to the survey.

Under the bill, which was heard by the Education Committee on Monday, the training would start next school year and employees would have at least one hour of training each year.


The bill came from McGill’s interest in children’s mental health issues.

“There are children facing thoughts of depression and suicide every day,” she said.

Several people testified in support of the bill, many explaining their own experiences with suicide in their family.

Amorette Nelson, of Blair, lost her youngest sister and close friend to suicide.

“The losses that I have experienced are unfortunately not unusual,” she said.

Nelson is a field advocate for the Nebraska chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide is preventable, she said, and victims may show one or more warning signs.

Several programs could be offered to the Nebraska Department of Education, Nelson said, such as More Than Sad, one of the foundation’s programs.

Aileen Brady, chief operating officer of Community Alliance, also testified in support of the bill.

There were 193 Nebraskans who committed suicide in 2010, according to the Center for Disease Control.

One-third of youths who die by suicide have faced a crisis within the past 24 hours, she said. Brady cited a study of suicide survivors that found one in four deliberated for less than 5 minutes, 90 percent deliberated less than 24 hours before attempting to take their lives, she said.

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