Gov. Nixon signs student safety legislation, discusses mental health

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COLUMBIA - Governor Jay Nixon signed student safety legislation and discussed mental health importance Friday.

House Bill 1583 will require public school districts to implement youth suicide and prevention policies by 2018 and adds cyber bullying to the anti-bullying laws.

Nixon said it will help prevent future cyber bullying and youth suicide.

Ann Anderson, a mid-Missouri resident, said she likes that he's taken steps to further improve this controversial issue.

"I do believe that the mentally ill are indeed overlooked and under served. Local clinics are however also understaffed and their budgets are tight," Anderson said.

The bill will allow licensed teachers and staff, starting in the 2018 school year, to complete up to two hours of training in youth suicide awareness and prevention.

The bill also requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create guidelines on the issue. It also requires each school district set a policy in place by 2018 on youth suicide and prevention.

Last month, Nixon signed the 2017 budget. It will increase state funding for the Department of Mental Health which includes:

-A 3 percent increase and rebasing for providers for Missourians with developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders.

-$1.6 million to expand emergency intervention teams to several regions.

-$5.4 million for a new crisis prevention program for low-income earners between the ages of 25-35 who have a severe mental illness or substance use disorder.

-$14 million to ensure no waiting list for in-home services for low-income Missourians with developmental disabilities.