Suicide prevention training proposed for Massachusetts schools

by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis

Nicholas Fernandes, of New Bedford, would have been 22 this year.

But five years ago he committed suicide.

Eventually that prompted his dad into action.

“Well the first year I was very depressed and I didn't want to do much of anything. But then a year later I attended the wake of another boy who played baseball with Nicholas, and had also taken his own life,” Brian Fernandes said.

So today Brian Fernandes was before the Education Committee of the Massachusetts General Assembly.

The Bay State – is among 19 states – that does not require suicide prevention training among its educators.

“It's important to talk about; to educate; to train those individuals that come in contact every single day with our children,” said State Rep. Antonio Cabral (D-MA).

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “Nicholas was a senior here at New Bedford Voc–Tech High School, just three months before graduation, when he took his own life.”

 Lawmakers were told Massachusetts had nearly 600 suicides last year, and almost 100 of them were teens.

Former Red Sox player Brian Rose now works in community outreach for the Bristol County District Attorney.

“Students, teenagers. You know they feel like they have no one, in their corner. Or they can't find somebody to talk to, or they just can't deal with it anymore,” said Brian Rose.

The bill would mandate teacher training on suicide, as part of their annual professional development.

“I don't want another parent, I don't want another sister, like my daughter or my mother or father, or another family, to go through what we've gone through,” said Brian Fernandes.

Massachusetts lawmakers will vote on the bill later this year, or early next year.