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Bill Would Train Teachers to Spot Mental Illness

Texas State Capitol
Erik Reyna, KUT News

A state lawmaker says Texas students are grappling with mental illness, but not all teachers, counselors and principals know how to recognize the signs. So the lawmaker, Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, is backing a mental health bill that he says would encourage educators in more than 1,100 school districts to get the necessary training.

According to the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 19-year-olds in Texas.

Linda de Sosa of Sugar Land testified at a hearing before the Senate Education Committee. Her son, Michael, committed suicide about three years ago.

“We’re helping our precious children when we equip our school personnel with the skills, confidence and tools to recognize the signs and to know how to respond appropriately and effectively,” de Sosa said.

Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, said she supports the bill with reservations.

“My concern is that there may end up being a quicker trigger or lower threshold to label a child with some type of mental problem,” Campbell said.

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