Suicide is a subject that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But one Valley mom is making it her mission to start that dialogue. LeAnn Hull has started a nonprofit organization to raise suicide awareness among teens, and she's taking her efforts to the capitol.
Hull describes her 16-year-old son, Andy, as the sunshine in her life, "great athlete, a fun-loving person, lots of friends, did well in school," Hull said.
While she said she noticed some behavioral problems, she thought it was normal teenage angst. She said she never saw the gray skies ahead.
"He drove off campus, drove home and five hours later, somewhere around there, shot himself," Hull said.
Hull is pushing for a bill that would allow teachers to count suicide-prevention training as continuing education credits - to add one more layer to early detection.
"It's not going to bring Andy back," Hull said. "I'm not pointing fingers. I'm not blaming anybody. What I'm trying to do is change policy."
"Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for children in Arizona ages 10 to 19, and if you look at the child fatality report, over 90 percent of those cases were preventable," said Rep. Heather Carter, the bill's primary sponsor. While the bill has sailed through the house, Hull said she's surprised it's taken this long to get heard in the Senate. This bill goes before the education committee Thursday.
Hull said her goal in starting a nonprofit and pushing this legislation is to prevent any parent from experiencing the grief she has had to endure.
"Make sure these kids in our community didn't follow in Andy's footsteps," Hull said.