Act 71 was passed in 2014 a House Bill 1559. The law requires every school district in Pennsylvania to:
Additionally, the law requires that student education be included in the school’s suicide prevention policy. The full legislation passed is available now.
While Act 71 required educators in grades 6-12 to receive 4 hours of training on suicide prevention every 5 years, it does not state how this will occur. Each school district is ultimately responsible for their own compliance. Further, PAYSPI highly recommends that school districts avoid providing all 4 hours of training in the first year and then avoid the topic until 5 years later. Everything we know about learning, as well as data on the effectiveness of suicide prevention training programs, suggest that this approach is ineffective. We suggest schools consider a model whereby educators and other school staff are trained for at least one hour annually. A second model to consider is two hours every other year. Either way, the school district would be compliant with Act 71.
Each school district is responsible for monitoring their own compliance with Act 71. They are responsible to submit a plan as to how they will address suicide prevention in their annual Professional Development Plan submitted to PDE.
It should be reminded to school districts that they are responsible for issuing Act 48 (continuing education) credits to their staff. Therefore, if any of the recommended trainings offered here or on any other reputable site are deemed appropriate by the school district, then that school district has the authority to offer Act 48 credits for that learning module.
PDE SUGGESTED TRAININGS
The following documents show trainings approved by the PDE, sorted by age, cost, and length of training. These trainings and other information can be found on the PDE website.
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Resources for schools and educators to enhance their knowledge and awareness of youth suicide prevention through varied programs and educational material.
The following resources include guidance for schools and their community partners on postvention, particularly following a youth suicide
This manual, developed by the STAR-Center at the University of Pittsburgh, is intended to guide schools and communities in developing their own postvention (i.e., services offered in an aftermath of a suicide or tragedy) policies and procedures
This resource, developed by the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Grant, aims to provide guidance on school postvention in the midst of physical distancing, virtual operations, and closures due to COVID-19.
This resource, developed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is a toolkit on how schools and communities can respond in the immediate aftermath of a suicide death of a student.
In this podcast, the presenters discuss considerations for developing and implementing a suicide postvention plan to assist students, teachers, administrators, and the surrounding community.
Below are documents that may serve as a resource to schools seeking suicide prevention programs for student education. The guide provides an overview of available programs and is organized alphabetically. The spreadsheet provides a snapshot view of programs, further organizing them by cost, duration, and tier of intervention (e.g., programs for all students, small groups of students, or individual students). Please note that these documents are not exhaustive of all youth suicide prevention programs that exist and are meant to help schools and communities navigate the most widely recognized options both nationally and in Pennsylvania.
This document contains websites and video links that serve as brief awareness and educational resources. While most of included resources were developed for parents and families, schools may also utilize them as a way to quickly disseminate brief yet relevant information more broadly to professional educators and support staff, as well as community members.