Feature Story 3 - AFSP Field Advocates in North Dakota Support Efforts to Pass Suicide Prevention Training Legislation

On April 11, 2013, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed North Dakota Senate Bill 2306 into law, which now requires each school district in the state to provide middle and high school teachers and administrators at least 2 hours of professional development in youth suicide prevention once every two years.  The new law will also require the superintendent of public instruction to collaborate with the state department of health to obtain and disseminate to school districts and nonpublic schools information and training materials free of charge.

AFSP North Dakota Chapter volunteers and Field Advocates worked closely with the Jason Foundation to increase support for the bill, attending and testifying at hearings, writing letters, and making phone calls to encourage members of the legislature to support the bill throughout the legislative process. 

The North Dakota Chapter of AFSP (AFSP-ND) has provided AFSP’s educational prevention program,More Than Sad, to local high schools over the past couple of years.  The program is designed to help educators better understand suicidal behavior in adolescents and teaches them how to identify and refer students who may be at risk for suicide.  To help school districts comply with the new law, AFSP-ND looks forward to expanding the use of this program by providingMore than Sadto each school district in the state at no cost.

AFSP would like to thank Governor Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and bill sponsors Senator Joan Heckaman, Representative Alon Wieland, and Senators Tyler Axness, Tim Flakoll, Richard Marcellais, and Connie Triplett for their leadership and the bill’s many supporters for their dedication to preventing youth suicide in the state of North Dakota.