Advocates for Suicide Prevention Gather at the Capitol

Posted at 6:12 PM, Mar 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-19 18:12:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Several state agencies hosted the 13th annual Suicide Prevention days at the state capitol today.

During the two day event, advocates from the state of Florida work together to discuss current and past strategies to help them prevent suicide.

Throughout the capitol rotunda, there are displays raising awareness on the issue.

Advocates also spent the day visiting legislative offices to encourage support for suicide prevention and mental health issues.

One of the big focuses of this year's event is how these issues impact students.

FSU Deputy Chief of Police, Major Jim Russell says, it is important to target this group "suicide is the number two killer of college students, that's where our kids are dying."

He also says it's important for law enforcement and for people who are involved in counseling and mental wellness to make it a priority, saying "we need to address it together as a team, to ensure that our students and people in that age group can get the treatment that they need."

Betsey Westuba, chair of the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition, also spoke on how these issues impact Florida's students.

She shared how online suicide prevention training for teachers can hopefully prevent suicide in this demographic, saying "I truly believe that these type of programs are ways to the future and teaching our kids that they can be resilient, if they do have suicidal thoughts, or self harm thoughts."

Nearly 2,900 suicides were reported in Florida in 2013. It is the 9th largest cause of death among Floridians.