PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Gov. Doug Ducey signed a measure on Wednesday that will expand suicide awareness and prevention training in public schools.
"We're here to take action on one the most devastating issues facing Arizonans," Ducey said, surrounded by lawmakers, advocates and family members who have lost loved ones to suicide.
The bill, also known as the Mitch Warnock Act, would require every member of school faculty statewide to undergo training to spot signs of anxiety and depression in teens to prevent suicides.
Mitch died by suicide in 2016.
His father, Tim Warnock, was at the signing ceremony.
"It's actually reintroducing the humanity part of our school systems and watching out for the kids in our communities," said Tim.
The training would be required at least once every three years. Supporters hope school employees will know how to step in if they see a student who might be struggling.
"It helps keep our community more knit. It's knitting together our neighborhoods, and it's help keeping that more perfect union alive. To me, that's what this is about. Your kid is my kid when they're in my care, and as a teacher, I want to know those signs to help as much as I can," said Tim.
The state Legislature passed the billed unanimously earlier this year. The measure went into effect on Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Ducey and supporters said this is just the first step in preventing teen suicides in Arizona.
"This was just opening the door," said Tim.