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Advocates Appeal To Pa. Lawmakers For Suicide Prevention Training For School Personnel

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(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Credit: Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania lawmakers have heard an appeal from advocates who want teachers and other school personnel to get suicide prevention training.

Quakertown teacher Catherine Siciliano told the state House Education Committee of how she has agonized over the suicide of her 26 year-old son in 2006.

“Did he know how to reach out for help? Was there something that I missed? Did his friends miss something?”

Siciliano says students are ready to have conversations and after keeping her son’s death a secret, she opened up to her students when one of them admitted having thought about suicide.

Dr. Erich Batra, who along with Siciliano is part of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, agrees but cautions that bullying may be only one factor in why teens commit suicide.

“And thus prevention programs for bullying and suicides need to have distinct approaches.”

Batra is calling for school personnel to receive training in suicide prevention, and to have it included in school curricula.

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