KY legislators work for suicide prevention in teens - News, Weather & Sports

KY legislators work for suicide prevention in teens

Rachael Neblitt (WAVE 3 Archives photo) Rachael Neblitt (WAVE 3 Archives photo)
Sheila Stanton Sheila Stanton
State Sen. Dan Seum State Sen. Dan Seum
State Sen. Jack Westwood State Sen. Jack Westwood
Stephen Ulrich Stephen Ulrich

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Legislators in Frankfort deal with everything from crafting the budget to Medicaid concerns to writing education rules. Thursday, a Senate Committee heard testimony on a piece of legislation that literally brought some in the room to tears.

Legislators were dealing with an issue that takes people's lives far too early - teen suicide. It's something that has been hitting Kentucky's young population far too hard.

The first person to testify before the Senate Education Committee was Sheila Stanton with the group Make a Difference for Kids, but she's also the aunt of a girl who ended her own life.

"She was probably the last person you would ever think that would want to take her life," said Stanton.

Her niece, Rachael Neblett, committed suicide when she was just 17-years-old. Rachael was the victim of cyber bullying.

"The signs were there that nobody caught," said Stanton.

Rachael's friend, another student at Bullitt East High School, committed suicide six months later and a friend of hers, six months after that.

"Those were three children, three young ladies that we lost in Mount Washington in less than a year's time," said Stanton. "We need to do something about this problem."

Sen. Dan Seum (R-Fairdale) is sponsoring legislation that would require teachers and school faculty to complete two hours of suicide prevention training each year

"I'm being a little emotional myself," said Seum. "I did lose a son-in-law a little while back. Senate Bill 65 will save some lives out there."

Sen. Jack Westwood (R-Erlanger) is co-sponsoring the bill.

"In March, my granddaughter, Chelsea Ryan Westwood, committed suicide and it was obviously an extremely difficult time for all of us," said Westwood.

Stephen Ulrich from the Kentucky Suicide Prevention who lost his son in 2002 told senators that the resources are there, and it will not be an additional burden. They just need to be invited into the schools.

Ulrich says some of the warning signs to look for are a break-up, divorce, unusual failing grades, or the loss of financial security.

The bill passed out of committee by a vote of 12-0.

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