The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved a plan to design Web-based suicide prevention training for teachers and school administrators in 81 school districts.
The site has "the potential to reach millions of school employees, students and their families," Marvin Southard, director of the Department of Mental Health, stated in a letter to the board.
Suicide is the third most common cause of death among people 15-24 years old, according to statistics cited by Southard.
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The Los Angeles County Office of Education will design, develop and maintain the curriculum and Web site. The county plans to use $765,000 in state funds to cover the program cost over three years.
The lead agency will consult with the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has had a suicide prevention program since 1986. The district, which serves about 800,000 students, has a low rate of suicide, according to Southard's letter.
Studies show that about 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental illness or substance abuse disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
The site will include fact sheets, frequently asked questions and links to resources. It is intended to help educators recognize the risk of suicide and learn effective preventive measures.