Yesterday, HRC testified in favor of the Youth Suicide Prevention and Climate Survey Act of 2015 in Washington, D.C. The bill would require all school staff to complete suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention training each year and require local education associations to adopt suicide prevention policies. 

“The Youth Suicide Prevention and Climate Survey Act (B21-361) would require school staff to complete two hours of comprehensive suicide prevention training every year,” Alison Gill, Senior Legislative Counsel for HRC, testified.“Suicide prevention training will provide school staff with the skills necessary to identify and assist youth who are at risk or in crisis.” Alison Gill

HRC’s groundbreaking survey, Growing Up LGBT in America, provides a stark picture of the difficulties LGBTQ youth face.  Fourteen percent of respondents reported that eating disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide were the most difficult problems they were facing. 

“Of particular importance is the bill’s recognition of categories of youth that are at a higher risk of suicide, including youth who engage in self-harm or have attempted suicide, youth in out-of-home settings, and LGBT youth,” Gill continued. “Inclusive suicide prevention training which discusses LGBT youth is critical because these young people may experience family rejection, bullying and harassment, or stigmatization for simply being who they are, all of which can be added risk factors for suicide.”

HRC urges the D.C. Committee on Education to pass this important legislation.

Read Gill’s testimony in full here.

If you’re a youth and need to talk to someone, call The Trevor Project, which provides a 24-hour crisis hotline for youth, at 1-866-488-7386.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call theNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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