Suicide-prevention bill goes to Utah governor

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The Senate gave final passage Wednesday to a bill requiring public school teachers to complete two hours of training every five years on how to recognize signs of suicidal thoughts and behavior in youths.

It voted 27-1 for HB501, sponsored by Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said suicide is the second-leading cause of death among Utah youths. "This is an issue we really need to face."

Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, initially questioned if it might be a burden to mandate the teacher training. But he said he found it would be only two hours out of 100 required for recertification, which he said was minimal for something that "could reap such phenomenal benefits."

The House earlier passed the bill when Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Murray, emotionally recounted his son's suicide and asked the House to back it.

Lee Davidson