SALEM, Ore. — A bill aimed at putting polices in place in order to prevent youth suicide has passed the Oregon House of Representatives with unanimous support and now heads to Governor Brown's desk.
"Adi's Act" (Senate Bill 52) was named for Adi Staub, a Portland high school student who completed suicide in 2017.
“Despite being fully supported and embraced by her family, Adi struggled to find footing in a world that did not accept the person who she always knew herself to be,” said chief sponsor Rep. Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland). “The risk of death by suicide increases in more vulnerable populations, including those with disabilities, kids facing addiction, kids with out-of-home placements such as foster care, LGBTQ youth, and those bereaved by the death by suicide of others.”
If signed into law, the bill would require that the State Board of Education and Oregon Health Authority work to adopt rules that would help prevent suicide — including the use of suicide prevention experts and bringing in staff and parents to develop better policies for dealing with the issue.
Adi's parents, Lon and Christine Staub, were reportedly at the capitol on Friday when the bill passed.
“Our youth need to feel supported at home, at school, in the community and by their peers,” they wrote in a statement. “We have made incredible progress during the last few decades, but the continued high rates of suicide, particularly among transgender youth, demonstrates we have a long way to go.”
The Oregon Health Authority reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 10 and 24 in the state.
"Teenagers face ever-increasing levels of social pressure, whether from social media, school, or trauma at home," said a statement from House Democrats.
Former teacher Rep. Courtney Neron (D-Wilsonville) said that she saw these struggles firsthand with the students in her classroom.
“I have worried for the safety of my students when they left my classroom at the end of class, desperately hoping that they would all return,” Rep. Neron said. “I knew that some of my students were not getting emotional support at home, which is why it is so important for schools to get best practices for policies and plans to prevent, intervene, and work through the aftermath of a death by suicide.”