Several local counselors, nurses and mental health professionals are finishing training in youth suicide prevention this week.
The request for the week-long training came from the Jefferson County Board of Education, said Gage Donohue, chair of Louisville’s Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
While there’s no well-known suicide problem in the school district, youth suicide is still an issue of concern, said Donohue. Kentucky’s overall suicide rate has dropped from 10th to 23rd, according to the most recent 2009 Centers for Disease Control numbers.
That’s still above the national average of 12 percent.
To help bring these numbers down, Kentucky enacted legislation (SB 65 and HB 51) in 2010 that required all school staff to undergo suicide prevention training. It also required administrators to provide middle and high school students information about suicide.
The number two cause of death for Kentucky youth is suicide, said Donohue.
“If we can stop it when the children are younger then maybe the next age category 15 to 25, and the next category up, maybe those won’t be so high,” she said.
While around half of the nation’s suicides are by gun, in Kentucky that number is nearly 70 percent.