Governor’s special council discusses youth suicide prevention

York

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – A special council created by an executive order signed in August by Gov. Tom Wolf has been touring the state to become educated on what is causing gun violence and how they can prevent it.

At a hearing in York Friday, the Special Council on Gun Violence focused on suicide prevention among youth. The state attorney general’s office released data from the Safe2Say program.

“We didn’t know what to expect, and frankly, the volume was a lot higher than what we expected,” Safe2Say director Brittany Kline said.

The anonymous online reporting system available to every Pennsylvania student showed an overwhelming number need help with mental health-related issues.

“It’s definitely a mental health crisis amidst our youth in Pennsylvania and many other states,” Kline said.

The attorney general’s office says schools need funding to hire more school counselors. They believe Safe2Say’s online platform makes kids more willing to ask for help.

“Everything revolves around technology these days, just the ability to click a button and the get the information they need to them, we get people to go to them instead of them going to somebody,” Kline said.

Geoff Kolchin, of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, stressed the importance of financial backing, saying more high schoolers are showing warning signs.

“Over 40% of our sophomores and seniors have reported being sad or depressed most days in the past year,” Kolchin said.

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