AN ACT RELATING TO TEACHING ABOUT SIGNS OF AND RESPONSES TO DEPRESSION AND RISK OF SUICIDE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. FINDINGS
(a) The general assembly finds that:
(1) Depression leading to serious health consequences and risk of suicide is a common problem in Vermont and nationally.
(2) Harassment and bullying are leading contributors to lowered
self-esteem and high-risk behavior.
(3) The findings of the annual Vermont youth risk behavior survey and the annual safe and healthy schools report from the Vermont department of education contain information and statistics that are compelling indicators of the need for suicide prevention education.
(b) Therefore, the general assembly concludes that teaching about signs of and appropriate responses to depression and risk of suicide is critical to promoting a safe and healthy school environment for all children.
Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 131 is amended to read:
§ 131. DEFINITIONS
For the purposes of this subchapter:
“Comprehensive health education” means a systematic and extensive elementary and secondary educational program designed to provide a variety of learning experiences based upon knowledge of the human organism as it functions within its environment. The term includes, but is not limited to, a study of:
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(5) Family health and mental health, including instruction which promotes the development of responsible personal behavior involving decision making about sexual activity including abstinence; skills which strengthen existing family ties involving communication, cooperation, and interaction between parents and students; and instruction to aid in the establishment of strong family life in the future, thereby contributing to the enrichment of the community; and which promotes an understanding of depression and the signs of suicide risk in a family member or fellow student that includes how to respond appropriately and seek help and provides an awareness of the available school and community resources such as the local suicide crisis hotline;
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The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street