Pennsylvania HB 1559: Prevent Suicide in PA

03/28/2014

AFSP supports the passage of Pennsylvania House Bill 1559, which would require schools to adopt youth suicide awareness and prevention policy that incorporates methods of suicide prevention (including regular training for professional educators serving students in grades 6-12), intervention, and postvention. 

AFSP thanks PA State Representative Frank Farina for his leadership in introducing HB 1559.  AFSP also applauds PA House and Senate leaders for working together on the bill to prevent suicide and to save young lives statewide.

HB 1559 has passed both the Pennsylvania House and Senate, although it has been amended along the way and now waits for the House to concur in the most recent changes made by the Senate. 

Residents of Pennsylvania: We are asking for your help in bringing HB 1559 across the finish line!  Please take a moment to email or call your Pennsylvania State Representative to ask for his or her support in passing HB 1559.  You may look up who your state Representative is here.

Thank you in advance for your support.  Your email or phone call could be worded like the following template (make sure to PERSONALIZE, especially the wording in [brackets]):

 

----------

 

Dear Representative _________:

I am a constituent living in [city/town name] [writing/calling] today to ask that youplease support final passage of House Bill 1559.  HB 1559 is of utmost importance to me because [insert your connection to suicide here].

In Pennsylvania, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-19. While some of these suicides occur without any outward warning, most young people who are suicidal do give warnings.  Our schools have an important role to play in recognizing these signs and knowing what to do to support students at-risk and their families. 

The training and education requirements in HB 1559 will ensure that our educators are equipped with the skills and confidence to recognize when students may be at risk and to refer those students for additional help, and that our students are empowered to seek help when they notice signs of mental illness or suicide in themselves or their peers.  The required policies and procedures in HB 1559 will also ensure that our schools are guided in responding safely when a suicide occurs in the school community, avoiding suicide contagion or “copycat” suicides and supporting school staff, students, and families.  Importantly, there are several existing organizations within our state that have offered to donate their suicide prevention expertise and resources to implement all mandates included in HB 1559at no additional cost to the state or to our schools.

Please support HB 1559.  If passed, I am confident HB 1559 will help save young lives.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Your Address]

[Your Email/Phone Number]