Suicide prevention education bill clears W.Va. Senate

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia educators would have to teach students about suicide prevention under a bill passed Wednesday by the state Senate.

Lawmakers voted 33-0 to approve the bill, which would require that teachers, students and other school officials get training on suicide prevention and awareness.

Sen. Ryan Weld, a Brooke County Republican, sponsored the measure and described a “grim” set of statistics on the rising rates of youth suicide.

Figures from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in West Virginia in 2017, the most recently available data. Nationally, suicide was the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 24.

Weld’s bill notes some of the issues facing the state, saying “as a result of disrupted families, poverty, and the opioid crises which have severely affected a significant number of families across this state, West Virginia’s students face a number of issues which may increase their risk of suicide.”

The proposal now moves to the House of Delegates for consideration.

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