State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today received a career recognition award from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, while calling for increased awareness and funding for mental health and suicide prevention.
Recent suicides by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade, combined with data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealing a significant increase in suicide rates have put a spotlight on this problem.
“Suicide is reaching epidemic proportions in our nation, our state, and our schools, making it even more important to focus on suicide prevention and expanding mental health services,” Torlakson said. “A suicide is a terrible, preventable loss that creates a tragedy for a family, a school, and an entire community.”
Torlakson praised schools for the work underway to prevent suicide, while asking all educators and members of the school community to be on the lookout for students showing signs of risk, and to assist them in seeking treatment. “This is no time for silence. If you notice someone suffering or in need, please speak out and help point them toward assistance,” he said.