Legislation Addresses Growing Suicide and Mental Health Concerns Among Youth
Newtown, CT – Ohio set the national standard for protecting youth yesterday by being the first legislature in the country to pass the Safety and Violence Education for Students Act.
The SAVE Students Act (House Bill 123) will combat the suicide crisis and violence among youth by ensuring that all middle and high school students are trained to know the warning signs and how to get help. The state House of Representatives took the final steps needed Thursday by agreeing with the Senate amendments to the Act with a bipartisan vote of 75-9. It now heads to Gov. Michael DeWine’s desk for his signature.
This is a crucial step forward for Ohio in addressing the youth suicide rate that has increased by 48% over the last decade, as recently reported by the Centers for Disease Control.
“Now, more than ever, we need to provide students and educators with resources to overcome the mental health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “By passing this landmark legislation, Ohio is setting a new national standard that provides life-saving training to every middle and high school student. We are grateful to Rep. Gayle Manning, who championed this important bill in the legislature, and look forward to Gov. DeWine signing it into law shortly.”
What Does the SAVE Students Act Do?
The SAVE Students Act requires that all middle and high school students in Ohio have access to evidence-based programs for schools that teach how to recognize social isolation, identify the signs of potential violence and suicide, and when and how to reach out for help. This programming can be delivered either digitally or through in-person training at no cost to the schools.
“As a retired teacher, I want to do everything I can to ensure that our children are in a safe environment,” said Manning. “I am pleased to see this move forward as this bill takes several steps to make sure school safety is a priority in our education system throughout Ohio.”
How You Can Get Involved
Learn more about state-level violence prevention legislation through our sister organization, the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund. You’ll see how our model school safety legislation helps and find out how you can get involved.
About the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund
Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund champions a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579