Monday, February 1, 2016

Our Testimony before the Kansas Senate 1.26.16

Senate Bill 323
Proponent for the bill hearing Tuesday January 26th, 2016
My name is Allison Doss. I am a proponent for senate Bill 323. In July 2015 my daughter Sara Prideaux ended her life by suicide. She was going into her junior year at Shawnee Mission South in Overland Park Kansas. She was a vibrant, smart and loving 16 year old. Sara was involved in anything school oriented. She was in the top of her class speaking multiple languages fluently. She was a member of student council and enjoyed helping in the theater department. Her entire world was school. Sara was always helping others. She had the kindest heart. Her smile was Infectious. She had spent time over the summer in Spain with her classmates and teachers. After she passed away I noticed, Sara showed many signs that she was struggling yet no one saw them because no one was trained to know the signs. I looked for the basic flags you look for as someone who has had a suicide in her life before. She told people she was depressed but no one knew how to take action. Suicide prevention needs to be in the schools for the teacher and the parents. We have to be able to give our children the tools to succeed which also means we need to give the teachers the tools to succeed and helping our children with not just their education needs but their emotional needs as well. Senate Bill 323 does just that. Senate Bill 323 will allow the additional training to be provided for the education staff for free without costing the school money. This bill could save other children where my daughter was not able to be saved. Help give the tools to the people who are spending over 40 hours with our children every week. Help lower the second leading cause in death among ages of 10 to 24. Help keep this tragedy that has happened to many of us in this room, from happening to anyone else. I will continue to SPEAK UP for those who have lost their voice.  I Allison Doss am a proponent for Senate Bill 323. I will be the Martin Luther King of mental illness... I have a dream where our children are not judged by the things in their head and instead lifted up and carried when the burden becomes too much to bear.

Allison Doss
Mother of Sara "Bob" Prideaux

As Sara's mom, I didn't see that she was hurting but what if the teachers could. I know the signs of someone who is suicidal and would have never guessed she was thinking of ending her life. I thought her behavior was just normal teenager behavior. We all know that children act different around there parents than they do others. What if the teachers had additional training and could have noticed something that I contributed to normal teenage angst. What if the signs that I didn't see until she was dead could have been picked up on by a teacher. We want to teach our children how to protect them from drunk driving, getting pregnant, STD's, texting driving, but what about there mental health. What about the 2nd leading cause in death in our youth. This bill is just another tool to help the teachers. We teach medical professional new techniques as science changes, why not change things in school as things change as well. We cant teach the children if they are not in there seats. The teachers are in a prime position to help, why not give them the tools to help.  

Senate Bill 323
Proponent for the bill hearing Tuesday January 26th, 2016
Good Afternoon State Senators. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk with you today. My name is Helen Rentz grandmother of Sara Prideaux. Sara was a student at SMS with a 4.7 GPA,a student council representative which she joined to try to make a difference. She could sing, draw ,paint and play the piano. She loved making cookies for her peers at school who were having a bad day. She had lots of friends and loved baking. On July 30,2015 she made the choice that life was not  worth living and killed herself. No note was left just lots of unanswered questions remain. What was so wrong in her life that she felt no one could fix it for her. I don't have that answer but I do know that when she left us the world lost a precious child. She showed no signs she was struggling. I would know signs because this is my third suicide I have been left to grieve. Two of my military husbands killed themselves several years ago. I am here to ask you to please pass this bill to help the remaining teenagers who are still alive and struggling. I was aware of suicide but not of how many teenagers we are losing daily nation wide . When Sara died I couldn't believe how my family was being treated by the ignorance of people about suicide. One person called my grand daughter a contagion which means a disease which would cause other people to commit suicide. My Sara would not have wanted anybody else to do what she did. But in my searching for answers over the past 6 months I find that the school districts teachers and counselors have not been trained how to help teens that are struggling or to watch for signs of suicide. I also wonder why we are not trying to fix or at least reduce the 2nd leading cause of death among teenagers but the third leading cause for teens we raise and donate to cancer research. My daughter has been trying to make a difference in her daughters school and has been met with great resistance because a few parents don't want it talked about because they are themselves uncomfortable with talking about suicide. We are losing very intelligent teenagers to suicide. I would never had thought I would lose my grand daughter to suicide because I knew all the signs and watched for them. Voting yes to this bill will help every teenager in this state. The teachers have our children 40 hours a week which is more time then we have with our children. Since I have been telling my story I can't tell you how many adults, teenagers have asked to please keep fighting for mental health awareness. No family is immune to teen suicide. I was shocked by how many families have admitted to me that their teen was struggling but they couldn't come forward to talk about for fear of repercussions with their jobs or they were so over ran with grief they had no fight left in them to try to help. I will not stop talking or appearing before committees to try to change mental health awareness. I plan on visiting other states that are doing it right to see what ideas I can bring back to our state to help with this cause of mental health awareness. We can't improve the statistics if we don't change what we are doing. Losing a child for any reasons is devastating but losing a child to suicide is the worst because you don't always get a chance to try to fix what's wrong. Time does not make it better . In my case I lost a grand daughter and basically my daughter because everyday she wakes up is another day she would rather not be here because her only child is gone. I pray that you will pass this bill and make it mandatory for all educators to have this training . I know teachers have a demanding job but in order for me to keep my license to practice in the medical field I have to keep my skills and education up. I pay for my continuing education credits.They are not free and I spend my own time doing them. This bill will only require their time. It's free training and it will save lives. One last thing I keep hearing how mental health budgets are being cut more and more. I don't understand if health insurance companies cover diabetes why they are not mandated to provide mental health coverage for the same co-pay or hospital stay. Please pass this bill quickly and make it mandatory sooner than later. Everyday this bill is not passed we lose teenagers. I would not want you to live in my world. We owe this to these teens who are born with an illness no one wants to understand or do anything about it. Please save our future adults. Thank you for allowing me to speak. Please do the right thing here. Start the solution instead of being part of the issue. Have a nice afternoon.  

Helen Rentz
Grandmother of Sara "Bob" Prideaux…/government…/article56682448.html

Now you take the next step-see how you can make a difference in the lives of our children. 

1 comment:

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