The following is a copy of a press release issued today in Augusta.
Today the Maine Senate unanimously supported the enactment of a measure aimed at preventing suicide among youth in Maine.
LD 609, sponsored by Representative Paul Gilbert (D-Jay) requires suicide prevention awareness for all school personnel and advanced training that includes prevention education for some employees.
“Awareness and training will and does save lives,” said Senator Colleen Lachowicz (D-Waterville) who also works as a licensed social worker. “Too many of our communities have suffered the loss of suicide and it is too much for our communities to bear. Passing this measure is important to the families in our state.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death of Mainers 24 and younger, according to the Maine Suicide Prevention Program, an initiative of several state agencies. Survey data from the state Center for Disease Control reveals that nearly 13 percent of high school seniors in Maine seriously considered suicide, more than 9 percent planned their suicide and almost 8 percent attempted suicide.
“During the public hearing, we heard from many courageous parents and siblings who came forth to tell their story. As lawmakers we owe to them and all Maine families to do everything we can to bring awareness and prevention to this issue,” said Senator Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth). “I am proud of the work the legislature did on this issue. It was emotional. It was heartfelt and it is critically important.”
The measure will now go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.