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New state law provides resources for schools to look for suicidal behaviors

Posted at 6:04 AM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 08:35:52-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — A new law is going to help bring suicide prevention training to schools across Arizona.

When the new school year begins in August, public school teachers and administrators will start being trained to detect signs of suicidal behavior in students. The Mitch Warnock Act, or SB 1468, is named after a Corona Del Sol student.

The legislation expands suicide awareness and prevention training in Arizona's public schools.

A 2019 Health of Women and Children study reported the teen suicide rate in Arizona rose 25 percent over a three-year period.

The CDC reports four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs. Educators are hoping this new law will help reduce the rise we've seen in Arizona.

"It's looking at it like it's CPR," Program Director for Help and Hope for Youth Arcelia Corindez said. "When you do CPR, you do CPR until the medics arrive, right? So, with Mental Health First Aid, you do mental health first aid, like CPR, and then you get them connected to professional help."

Corindez said her organization Help and Hope for Youth is one of the resources training educators. They're working with similar organizations across the state to train 50,000 Arizonians in the next five years.

This training is for anyone interested. Reach out to Corindez here: acornidez@helphopeforyouth.org.

"It sounds easy, but when you're thinking of somebody who is going through a mental health situation or substance abuse addiction if you don't know what to look for, then it's really hard to help," Corindez said. "To think of asking the question, 'are you thinking of hurting yourself?' isn't something that a lot of people are comfortable doing and mental health first aid helps individuals learn how to do that."