In 2019, the Arizona State legislature passed Senate Bill 1468 mandating all public school staff who interact with students in grades 6 through 12 be trained in an evidence-based, best practice suicide prevention training at least once every three years.  The statute tasks AHCCCS with picking evidence-based, best practice suicide prevention training materials.  AzPHA Board member and Treasurer Kelli Donley Williams is the point person at AHCCCS that’s been working on this.

The law takes effect in the 2020-2021 school year and school districts are being encouraged to write policies describing how they will implement and track the training.

AHCCCS and the Arizona Department of Education have already selected the school suicide prevention training options. School administrators can choose from among these materials as they work toward meeting the statute’s requirements.  Here’s a list of the evidence-based programs:

  • Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR).

  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

  • At-Risk for High School Educators (available online).

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid.

  • Suicide Alertness for Everyone (safeTALK).

  • ACT on FACTS (available online).

  • More than Sad – Suicide Prevention Education for Teachers and other School Personnel.

  • Be a Link! Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training.

The qualifying programs were selected using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Suicide Prevention Toolkit for High Schools, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for additional gateway trainings, and peer-reviewed articles addressing cultural considerations, particularly for tribal nations, in suicide prevention.