New teacher training on suicide, veterans health care pilot, merged and moved

Posted June 28

NC General Assembly 4x3

— An unfunded pilot program meant to help veterans stay on top of their mental and physical health was merged with a youth suicide prevention bill Wednesday.

The House voted 113-2 in favor of House Bill 894, sending it to the Senate.

The health care program would key on Cumberland County, and the idea is to train veterans as community health workers. They would work with other veterans, particularly those who have not qualified for federal benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to help them manage medications and other health needs.

The focus would be on veterans with a history of frequent emergency room visits, sponsoring Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, said. The program didn't get funding in the state budget that passed earlier this month, and Szoka said he wants to pass this bill to keep the idea alive until next year in hopes the General Assembly will fund it then.

This bill was merged with a proposal to train middle school teachers, and any other school employee who works with students in those grades, to identify the signs of pending suicide. The bill would require two hours of training, re-upped every two years of employment, for teachers, teacher assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, coaches, administrators, janitors, school resource officers, school nurses, counselors and others.


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