Martinez Humenik Leads On Suicide Prevention

Denver -- Although this legislative session saw numerous bills introduced at the Statehouse dealing with mental or behavioral health issues, most fell by the wayside over philosophical disagreements or fiscal concerns. But one teen suicide prevention bill by Thornton Republican Beth Martinez Humenik, Senate Bill-272, actually won enough bipartisan support to beat the odds. It will become law once Governor Hickenlooper signs on the dotted line.

The bill’s passage by the Senate Tuesday adds to the Senator’s impressive list of accomplishments on behalf of Colorado citizens this session.

The bill creates a crisis and suicide prevention training grant program to be administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Up to $400,000 per year in grants, in varying amounts, will become available to schools for crisis and suicide prevention training.

Trainings won’t just be available to teachers, counselors and administrators, but to all school personnel. Grant recipients will be required to report on their activities, ensuring accountability and transparency.

Martinez Humenik is disappointed that more couldn’t be done this session on this particular issue but believes SB-272 still represents a major step in the right direction.
“School children are often too afraid to just come right out and tell adults what’s troubling them, or what they are struggling with, so properly training school personnel to be on the alert for suicide warning signs can make a major difference in preventing tragedies from occurring,” said Martinez Humenik. “Due to the extensive time they spend with students, school personnel are uniquely positioned to help with suicide prevention, if they are adequately trained to play that role. And this bill will help do that.”

All SB-272 needs is the Governor’s signature and it will become law.

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