A suicide prevention bill has been passed in California to help LGBT teens
The California Assembly have passed a bill in a bid to help prevent teen suicide among LGBT teens.
The bill, AB 2246, requires that schools in the state will have to have a “comprehensive suicide prevention plan” in place for students in grades 7-12. It will become law if signed by the state’s governor, Jerry Brown.
LGBT teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other teenagers, with The Trevor Project stating that suicide is the second biggest cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. Similarly, nearly half of all transgender teenagers have seriously thought about taking their own lives, with 25% having made an attempt.
As it currently stands, schools in California are only encouraged to have suicide prevention plans in place. If the bill becomes law, it will be a requirement. The new bill will also require the state Department of Education to devise a model plan that can be seeded out to school districts.
Speaking about the bill, Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, a Democrat from Long Beach said, “As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”
The bill will devised in collaboration with parents, school advocates, school mental health professionals, and suicide prevention experts.
“We’re thrilled that California can become the first state in the country to require middle and high school policies on suicide prevention for LGBTQ and other at-risk populations,” said Abbe Land, executive director of The Trevor Project. “Just a couple of weeks ago, the first nationally representative sample of the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey was released, and it showed that lesbian, bisexual and questioning youth attempt suicide at over three times the rate of heterosexual youth. With the passage of AB 2246, California has answered this implicit call to action to drive these shocking statistics down.”
If you want to talk to someone, you can contact The Trevor Project on 1-866-488-7386.