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Legislative Committee Moves Forward On Mandating Suicide Prevention Training For K-12 Students

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The state legislature's Joint Education Committee has moved forward with a bill that would require school districts to provide suicide prevention training to students.

The Jason Flatt Act already requires Wyoming teachers and administrators to undergo training of suicide prevention every four years, but has no training requirements for students.

Cody High School psychologist Daniel Cossaboon actually began the initiative to include mandatory training for K-12 students. Three Park County students died by suicide recently and he told the committee at least two could've been prevented.

"I was counseling students who told me that in fact the person that took their life told them that they were going to do it," said Cossaboon. "But they didn't know what to do with that information."

A couple of Cody High School students followed Cossaboon testifying their personal experiences with friends or families that have attempted to or successfully taken their own lives.

Cody High School senior Soffy Anderson said her half sister took her own life a year and half ago.

"I would've appreciated having training and being able to see the signs when they were happening," she said. "Because maybe the outcome could've been different."

Cossaboon said it falls on Wyoming school districts to teach students how to respond to these types of conversations in order to save lives. Wyoming has been in the top five for suicide rates since 1996. The suicide rate among Wyoming teenagers has increased by 40 percent in the last three years. The committee voted to move forward with the bill 10-4. The legislature will review the bill in it's next session.

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours at 800-273-8255.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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