Wyoming House Defeats Suicide Prevention Program For Schools

Feb 4, 2021

Credit Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

An effort to educate Wyoming school children on the topic of suicide prevention has been defeated by the Wyoming House of Representatives. Lawmakers defeated House Bill 62 saying that such discussions should take place outside of schools.

Gillette Rep. John Bear who lost his son to suicide, opposed the bill, saying young people need to get hope from the faith community.

But House Minority Floor Leader Cathy Connolly countered that not all young people attend church. She noted that in a legislative hearing on the bill, a number of students testified that they were aware a sibling was considering suicide.

"And these kids testified that they wished they knew what to do. If they knew what to do they may have behaved differently, they might have saved a life," said Connolly.

She noted that teachers and counselors are trained on how to handle suicide threats, but it's siblings and other students who are usually the first to know. 34 of the 60 house members voted against the bill. In 2018 Wyoming had the highest suicide rate in the nation.

The Wyoming Department of Health urges residents in crisis to call 911 or the state suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-TALK. (8255)