Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey (see Related Links), 15 percent of Kentucky high school students (1 in 7) reported having seriously considered suicide within a 12-month period. In addition, 17.4 percent of Kentucky middle school students (nearly 1 in 5) reported that they had seriously considered killing themselves at some point in their lives. However, experts say that suicide is preventable. When educators, students and communities learn warning signs and how to take action when a young person might be at risk of a suicidal crisis, lives can be saved.
In response to new Kentucky legislation regarding suicide prevention training and awareness for middle school and high school staff and students, the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities has prepared information about programs, training and materials:
SB 65 - Suicide Prevention Education for Middle and High School Staff. Signed by Kentucky's Governor on April 13, 2010
Amends KRS 158.070
to require all high school and middle school principals, guidance counselors and teachers to complete a minimum of two hours of self-study review of suicide prevention materials each school year. Also amends KRS 161.011
to permit suicide prevention training for classified employees.
HB 51 - Suicide Prevention Information for Middle and High School Students. Signed by Kentucky's Governor on March 4, 2010
Amends KRS 156.095
to require the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to post suicide prevention awareness and training information on its Web page by August 1, 2010; requires every public middle and high school administrator to disseminate suicide prevention awareness information to all middle and high school students by September 1, 2010, and September 1 of each year thereafter.
As part of the Kentucky AWARE Project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services SAMHSA NITT-AWARE grant, the Kentucky Department of Education is currently providing Youth Mental Health First Aid training
. Participants in this training learn how to give students initial help while they are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received or until the crisis resolves.