New Iowa law would require schools to train staff to detect signs of suicide in students

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- A newly signed law could help Iowa schools help detect signs of suicide in students and provide them access to mental health services.

On Thursday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law. One of those laws would require teachers to undergo mandatory training for at least one hour on suicide awareness every year.

"It's a tool for them to be more aware of what to look out for." said Jen Cobb, School Based Manger for Vera French. Cobb and staff, oversee four school districts in Scott County including, Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley, Davenport and North Scott. They provide therapeutic services to students in those districts.

The purpose of the training is so staff can recognize signs of depression in students and help them seek mental health services. Cobb says she's seen an increase in students showing signs of depression including those in elementary schools.

"That's  very concerning obviously when we have young kids feeling that way," said Cobb.

She says the added pressures for children in today's society and social media is partly to blame.

Cobb says the added law could be beneficial to students and staff and it's a step in the right direction to help expand services for at risked youth, "I think it's great i think anytime that we provide more education and we bring these ideas to the forefront it just brings more awareness."

The training will become mandatory for Iowa schools starting in July of next year.