January 23, 2012

(Denver) – A resolution to help raise awareness on teen suicide co-sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) unanimously passed through the Education Committee today.

HJR 1004, co-sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr and Rep. Tom Massey (R-Poncha Springs) calls for more training in suicide prevention for educators and strives to lessen the stigma on teen suicide and stop the tendency to be silent on the subject matter.

The Colorado Youth Advisory Council, or COYAC, brought the resolution to the House and many representatives of COYAC spoke about their personal experiences with teen suicide and depression. The powerful testimonies included personal stories by a father of a teen who committed suicide, and a teen who has debilitating depression and has been hospitalized for contemplating suicide.

One of these speakers was Gage Crisp, a DU student, whose best friend committed suicide in high school. He has since become a teen leader in suicide prevention and education advocacy.

“Gage’s story, along with all of the testimonies we heard today were very powerful and represent the very reason why I am gladly co-sponsoring this House Joint Resolution,” Rep. A. Kerr said. “I hope everyone who heard the testimonies today was affected as I was. Teen suicide is a big problem, and it doesn’t just affect the family of the victim; it affects every district, every school and every community.”

Jeff Lamontagne, co-founder and former executive director of the Second Wind Fund, also spoke on the far-reaching effects of teen suicide and in support of the resolution. Second Wind Fund is a Lakewood-based nonprofit whose mission is “to decrease the incidence of teen suicide nationally by removing financial and social barriers to treatment for all at-risk youth and to create a network of local Affiliates to provide such services in their own communities.”

“Jeff’s work in our community and in combating teen suicide is extraordinary,” Rep. A. Kerr said. “This resolution came from the work of organizations such as Second Wind and COYAC and is a step in continuing the fight in teen suicide prevention.”

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