“As youth suicide has continued to rise, it is clear that we have to do more to prevent, assess, intervene and respond to suicide behavior especially in our schools,” LaPointe said. “Statistics have shown that certain groups are at higher risk of suicide including LGBTQ individuals, youth in seasons of homelessness, and youth in the foster care system. This legislation will give school staff and students the resources they need to identify those students who are at an increased risk and help protect the health and safety of all students.’
LaPointe is working in partnership with The Trevor Project to amend Anne Marie’s Law, which was enacted in 2015 to provide suicide awareness and prevention to Illinois school students and staff. Under LaPointe’s House Bill 5572, the Illinois State Board of Education’s suicide prevention guidelines would specifically outline the needs of groups at increased risk of suicide, including LGBTQ students and those who are suffering from substance abuse, mental health disorders, experiencing homelessness, among other circumstances. Nationwide, suicide is the second-highest cause of death among youth ages 10 to 24 and the rate of suicide in all age groups has continued to steadily rise in the last decade.
“For young adults ages 15 to 34, suicide is the third leading cause of death in Illinois. And we know that LGBTQ youth are more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. In the last year alone, the Trevor Project responded to over 4,000 calls/chats/texts from LGBTQ you in Illinois who reached out for our support,” said Sam Brinton (they/them), Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “This critical amendment will ensure that Illinois schools’ suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies specifically address the needs of high-risk groups like LBGT youth rather than risk factors alone. Thank you to Rep. LaPointe for taking this action to help save young lives in Illinois.”
House Bill 5572 is based on best practices from the Model School Policy on Suicide Prevention, which was created in consultation with suicide prevention experts at the Trevor Project, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the American School of Psychologists.
For more information about pending legislation or state services, please contact LaPointe’s constituent service office at 773-647-1174 or email RepLaPointe@gmail.com.