Utah bill makes it easier for teachers to talk to suicidal students


By Sterling Randle

SALT LAKE CITY—A bill that would enable teacher intervention to prevent student suicides, passed through the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 18.

Suicide, especially among youth, is something that hits close to home in Utah. Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, gave the following facts during his presentation in support of HB23

    Lawmakers are meeting for their annual 45-day session until mid-March.
Lawmakers are meeting for their annual 45-day session until mid-March.

– Suicide is the second highest reason for death in children ages 10 to 17.
– Utah ranks fifth in the nation for youth suicide.
– About 25 percent of young people who survived an attempted suicide said the window between deciding to take their life and the actual attempt was only five minutes.

“The tragic part is that most young people, before they take their life, demonstrate signs.” Eliason said.

However, Eliason also said that nine out of 10 people who did attempt suicide, and later received treatment, never made another attempt on their life.

HB23 would make it easier for teachers to reach out to students who do show signs of self-harm. Once a teacher sees signs they can ask why students are feeling this way and talk to them about it.

The teacher could then refer the student to a guidance counselor for further help. In the final step a notification of these signs could be delivered to the parent or guardian of the child.

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