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Congressman Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent Youth Suicide

Congressman Zach Nunn was at Iowa Homeless Youth Center to announce the Prevent Youth Suicide Act, a bipartisan legislation that aims to ensure all schools provide biannual suicide prevention training for all teachers, administrators, and staff that regularly interact with students in grades six through twelve.

“This is something that impacts all communities – here in Des Moines to our most rural communities across Iowa,” Nunn said. “No educator, no parent, no community should feel like they don’t have the opportunity to extend a helping hand when a child asks for it.”

The bill would require the U.S. Department of Education to require all local educational agencies and non-public schools to integrate biennial, evidenced-based training on suicide prevention for all school personnel who hold a license, certificate, authorization, or statement of recognition issued by the board of educational examiners and who have regular contact with students in grades six through twelve.

Additionally, this legislation would require the U.S. Department of Education to oversee the development and implementation of evidence-based suicide prevention programs tailored to the needs of students. These protocols include training for staff and faculty to proactively identify signs of distress and risk factors for suicide, as well as appropriate guidelines for reporting and responding to concerns.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicidal thoughts are common among teens and young adults. Almost 11 percent of young adults (ages 18-25) report that they’ve had serious thoughts about suicide. These numbers are higher among high school students — nearly 20 percent report serious thoughts about suicide and 9% report a suicide attempt. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14.

“We have the opportunity to provide a lifeline to those in need,” Nunn said.

YSS advocates, therapists, and substance abuse counselors have specialized training in suicide prevention and are already serving youth in schools, outpatient clinics, and in shelters.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, don’t wait. Click here or call 515-233-3141 to get help.


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