Suicide ends lives, but it also creates new beginnings for those who attempt to kill themselves but live, and those who must find the will to go on without lost loved ones.
Nevada legislators approved three bills related to suicide prevention in the recently concluded legislative session, including one to provide free awareness training to family members of those at risk.
— Senate Bill 483 would require the state Office of Suicide Prevention to train family in how to recognize and react to signs of suicide, and refer someone who is suicidal to get professional help.
Current status: If signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak, the measure is estimated to cost $241,600 during the biennium.
— Senate Bill 204 requires all schools to adopt a suicide prevention policy and train all children in grades 7 and up on the signs of suicide, including information to address high-risk populations like homeless students and LGBTQ teens. While the original bill would’ve mandated that all state schools address high-risk populations, an amendment made the requirement optional for private schools after some parents and students voiced opposition on religious grounds.
Current status: Sisolak signed SB 204 on June 1.
— A similar bill in the Assembly, AB 114, requires suicide prevention courses to be established for grades 5 and up and would mandate that all teachers be trained in the suicide warning signs.
Current status: Sisolak also has signed AB 114.
Misty Vaughan Allen, coordinator for the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention, said she’ll create an updated state plan for suicide prevention based on the new laws.
The office’s current plan, which is set for an update in 2020, outlined goals to improve data collection and prevention within the health care system. Vaughan Allen said progress has been made in those areas and that improvements will continue while the state plan is updated.
“It’s a living document (and) the work doesn’t stop,” she said. “We will definitely want to update it so the community knows where we’re heading.”