Alaska State Senator Bettye Davis Honored for Suicide Prevention Training Efforts
WASILLA-The Alaska Association of Student Governments (AASG) this weekend honored Senator Bettye Davis, D-East Anchorage, for her leadership in sponsoring and passing Senate Bill 137, which requires mandatory suicide prevention training for staff in schools across Alaska.
On Friday night during their Fall Conference at Wasilla High School, AASG members presented Senator Davis with an award to recognize her work on SB 137, also known as the Jason Flatt Act. The new law requires mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for certain teachers, administrators, counselors, and specialists employed in school districts across the state. The legislation also requires at least two hours of training for school personnel who work with students in grades 7-12.
“Most young people contemplating suicide show clear warning signs prior to the attempt,” said Senator Davis. “It is imperative that educators know how to recognize signs of at-risk youth and are prepared to intervene when they identify a problem.”
Senator Davis teamed up with the Jason Flatt Foundation, the school districts and the Department of Education with support of AASG to create the legislation after members of the association participated in suicide prevention training at the Fall 2010 Leadership Conference in Bethel. During that conference, the AASG passed two resolutions related to suicide prevention training including KOGNITO TRAINING FOR TEACHERS IN ALASKA and REQUIRING TEACHERS TO RECEIVE SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING.
“Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death nationwide for 10 to 24-year-olds,” said Senator Davis. “In Alaska, the problem is even worse with suicide ranking as the number one cause of death for Alaskans under the age of 50-years-old. Our kids deserve a better chance at life, and this training is a critical step forward in that process.”
To achieve the goals set out by SB137, AASG is coordinating with the Alaska Mental Health Board and Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, the University of Alaska, and the Jason Foundation to establish training programs and resources for teachers, coaches and staff.
For more information, please contact Tom Obermeyer in Senator Davis’ Office at (907) 269-0144.