Can a Suicide Prevention Bill Help Reduce Suicide Risk?

Feb 2013

Suicide is a problem throughout the United States and is the tenth leading cause of death for Americans. Ultimately, therapists and mental health professionals – when properly trained – are in the best position to stop someone from dying by suicide provided they do their jobs well. However, not everyone is able to get the help they need, and often signs of suicide go unrecognized by peers, parents, loved ones and therapists. A book which helps everyday people to be gatekeepers and protect their loved ones and co-workers is “The Suicide Lawyers: Exposing Lethal Secrets” authored by C.C. Risenhoover. The author interviews Suicide Lawyer Skip Simpson to get his insights on how family members can assist loved ones at risk for suicide.

Some states, however, are making an effort to publicize the signs of suicide and to ensure that people do get the help they need. This year in Utah, for example, KSL reports that a suicide prevention bill is being considered by legislatures. Suicide lawyer Skip Simpson will be watching Utah lawmakers to see if the bill is passed and to see what impact the legislation has on curbing suicide among youth.

The Suicide Prevention Bill

Utah’s proposed suicide prevention bill is being considered along with anti-bullying bills in this year’s legislative session. The anti-bullying bills will supplement the state’s 4-year-old bullying law and are also aimed, in part, at curbing suicide since bullying is a top reason for young people to wish to end their lives.

The suicide prevention bill, however, has a very specific goal. The goal is to expand the Hope Squad program that one school district has tried and to require all schools within the state to implement some of the things that Hope Squad has been doing.

The focus of Hope Squad is to bring parents, peers and students together to teach them about the signs of suicide and to teach them how to respond to suicide. The suicide prevention bill, therefore, would encourage all school districts to come together with parents and students to help prevent suicides through education and support.

Some of the different steps that will be taken may include providing suicide awareness of information, conducting parent seminars, strengthening resources on bullying and improving communication between schools and parents.

Suicide is a major problem in the state of Utah, with two youths and three young adults treated for attempting suicide every single day. Utah also has the 17th highest suicide rate in the country, and suicide is the second leading cause of death both for young adults and adults. The state’s efforts to increase education and to help schools, students and parents fight against this suicide epidemic will hopefully be successful in curbing this silent epidemic.

Can a Suicide prevention Bill Help Lower the Risk of Suicide?

If Utah’s bill passes, it will be important to observe the effects of the bill on the suicide rate. Ultimately, the bill will hopefully be successful provided that parents, schools and students really do recognize the signs of suicide early and provided that people are able to get the help they need. Of course, mental health professionals will also need to be equipped to provide appropriate treatment for those who are considering suicide, since parents and schools alone cannot stop someone who wants to end his or her life. Proper mental health treatment is ultimately the best and only answer to preventing suicide on a long-term basis.

If you lost a loved one to suicide, contact the Dallas Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call  214-618-8222.

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