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'The kid lives, the kid gets support': Teen memorialized through suicide prevention law aimed at training teachers

The Mitch Warnock Act requires teachers to be trained to look for the warning signs of suicide in an effort to prevent teens from taking their own lives.

PHOENIX — Lawmakers, advocates and those who have lost loved ones to suicide gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday to witness Gov. Doug Ducey sign a bill that aims to help children and teens struggling with thoughts of suicide and mental health issues.

The Mitch Warnock Act, named after a Corona Del Sol High School student who died of suicide at age 18 in 2017, will expand suicide awareness and prevention training in public schools. 

PREVIOUS: New Arizona law requires teachers to get suicide prevention training

"Today, we're here to take action on one of the most devastating issues facing Arizonans: the tragedy of suicide," Ducey said before he signed the bill on Wednesday. 

"Suicide is the eighth-leading cause of death in Arizona. We know that it plagues people from all walks of life, and that's why our state is taking action on several fronts."

12 News spoke with Mitch's father, Tim, throughout the process of getting this bill passed and signed into law. 

 "We want to bring awareness to that to make sure educators are trained on this issue, that we can help these young people before they make that decision," Tim Warnock said in a previous interview with 12 News. 

"The kid lives, the kid gets support. There is not an empty desk in your classroom."

RELATED: 'I found him, it was horrible': Why a dad and teacher whose son died of suicide wants this bill to pass

Schools will have until the 2020 school year to comply with the legislation. 

Remember to check in with your loved ones often. If you or a loved one struggle with suicidal thoughts and depression, you are not alone. Here are a few resources available to you 24/7:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Arizona Teen Lifeline: 1-800-428-8336
EMPACT Survivors of suicide: 1-866-205-5229

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