Assemblymember O'Donnell Introduces Legislation to Drive Down Suicide Rates among Children and Young Adults

Thursday, February 18, 2016

(SACRAMENTO) – Today, Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell (D – Long Beach) introduced AB 2246 requiring local school districts to adopt a suicide prevention plan. The bill is supported by Equality California and The Trevor Project, organizations dedicated to achieving equality, acceptance, and social justice.

"Our kids spend so much of their day in school that teachers serve as the first line of defense when a child is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts," said Assemblymember O'Donnell. "AB 2246 protects students going through difficult economic, physical or social challenges by ensuring teachers are trained to identify warning signs."

"LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, yet California is among just a handful of states that do not require that all schools have suicide prevention policies to protect our kids," said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. "This new law will help get teachers the resources they need to recognize and support at-risk kids."

"The Trevor Project is dedicated to co-lead this effort to ensure that educators in California are able to protect youth, including LGBTQ students, in their schools. We believe that this bill will set a precedent that will be a model for the rest of the country," stated Abbe Land, Executive Director & CEO of The Trevor Project. "We thank Assemblymember Patrick O'Donnell for introducing this ground-breaking bill."

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for children 10-14 and the second among people 15-34.

The bill now awaits referral to its first policy committee.