AUGUSTA – After losing a classmate last fall, a group of Messalonskee High School students are pushing for more suicide awareness and prevention in schools.
This afternoon, they spoke before lawmakers in Augusta. Two students testified in support of LD725, which builds on an existing suicide awareness bill. It calls for more accountability by making sure that mandated prevention training for educators is documented and submitted to the state and also improve the suicide curriculum taught in health classes.
Mental health advocates say they support the bill, but want to make sure it’s executed properly.
“Maine is a state with an incredibly high suicide death rate esp for kids my age its the second highest cause of death so i feel like even tho we know that no one is causing attention toward that so its super important to me.” Emma Walsh, Messalonskee HS Student
While Executive Director Nami Maine and the Maine Principals Association raised some questions about the bill, no one testified in opposition. It now heads to a work session. The same students are the driving force behind a bill to make hayrides safer – after losing another classmate in an accident last fall. They plan to testify on that in May.