Indiana State Senator Mark Messmer Discusses Youth Suicide Rates in the Hoosier State

In the Messmer report this week State Senator Messmer cover the tough topic of suicide among youth and young adults in the Hoosier state.

In Indiana, it is a tragic fact that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in youth ages 15 to 24. The Hoosier state also leads the nation with 19 percent of high school students contemplating suicide, and is second in the nation with 11 percent of high school students attempting suicide. In 2013, 125 Indiana youth between the ages of 10 to 24 were lost to this tragic act.

Suicidal thoughts can be brought on by an array of things like anxiety, depression, substance abuse, relationship changes or financial troubles. Some factors that help prevent a person from considering suicide include:

· Strong connections with family and friends or community;
· Access to effective care for physical, mental or substance abuse problems; and
· Conflict and problem-resolving skills.

In order to help reduce our state’s teen suicide rate, Messmer has sponsored House Bill 1430. This bill would require all schools, private and public, to require all employees who are likely to have ongoing contact with students in grades 7 to 12 to attend at least two hours of in-service youth suicide awareness and prevention training every two years.

HB 1430 would increase education and awareness on the subject, giving educators the tools to recognize signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and knowledge on how to appropriately intervene.

Since a child who is a victim of physical or sexual abuse has a greater risk of attempting suicide, Messmer also authored Senate Bill 355. This bill would require the Indiana Department of Education to make educational materials on child abuse and child sexual abuse so schools can implement helpful policies in a classroom from grades kindergarten through 12. These materials would also cover policies and procedures for reporting and responding to these abuses.

A comprehensive approach to suicide prevention is needed to combat this problem. With legislation like this, the State Senator hopes all Hoosiers can make significant strides to reduce and prevent suicides among Indiana youth.

As always, you can contact Messmers office directly with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

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