Act 71 was passed in 2014 as House Bill 1559. The law requires every school district in Pennsylvania to:
1. Adopt a set of policies and procedures for suicide prevention in their district and post this policy on the school website. Act 71 outlines what is required within this policy.
2. Train all educators in grades 6-12 in suicide prevention for a period of 4 hours every 5 years.
Additionally, the law recommends that student curricula include suicide prevention. The full legislation passed is available below.
Act 71 Policy Webinar
This hour long webinar, delivered by presenters from across the Commonwealth, informs school districts on best practices for creating and/or updating suicide prevention policy. After viewing this webinar, please take a moment to fill out an anonymous and brief 6 question survey to help guide our future communications.
While Act 71 requires educators in grades 6-12 to receive 4 hours of training on suicide prevention every 5 years, it does not state how this will occur. Each school district is ultimately responsible for their own compliance. Further, PAYSPI highly recommends that school districts avoid providing all 4 hours of training in the first year and then avoid the topic until 5 years later. Everything we know about learning, as well as data on the effectiveness of suicide prevention training programs, suggest that this approach is ineffective. We suggest schools consider a model whereby educators and other school staff are trained for at least one hour annually. A second model to consider is two hours every other year. Either way, the school district would be compliant with Act 71.
Each school district is responsible for monitoring their own compliance with Act 71. They are responsible to submit a plan as to how they will address suicide prevention in their annual Professional Development Plan submitted to PDE.
It should be reminded to school districts that they are responsible for issuing Act 48 (continuing education) credits to their staff. Therefore, if any of the recommended trainings offered here or on any other reputable site are deemed appropriate by the school district, then that school district has the authority to offer Act 48 credits for that learning module.
The following documents show trainings approved by the PDE, sorted by age, cost, and length of training. These trainings can also be found at the PDE website below.
PDE Act 71 page: This page features information on Act 71 and trainings approved by PDE
PAYSPI Trainings for Schools: This page provides resources for schools and educators to enhance their knowledge and awareness of youth suicide prevention through varied programs and educational material.
The following webinars are free to view and were approved by PDE as Act 71 compliant. After viewing the webinar please fill in this brief, anonymous survey to help us with our evaluation efforts.
Introduction (2 min)
Myths (12 min)
Epidemiology (12 min)
Definitions (10 min)
Risk Factors vs. Warning Signs (33 min)
What Can You Do to Help (5 min)
Collecting Valid Data (17 min)
Risk Assessment (9 min)
Safety Planning (24 min)