Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president, provided expert testimony in support of two bills related to suicide prevention before a Missouri Senate committee in January.

The Senate Education Committee heard testimony on two bills: Senate Bill 646, which requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop training guidelines and school districts to adopt a policy for youth suicide awareness and prevention education, sponsored by Sen. Jill Schupp of St. Louis; and Senate Bill 627, which requires each public institution of higher education to develop and implement a policy to advise students and staff on available suicide prevention programs, sponsored by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed of St. Louis.

As a professor of speech communication in 1988, Dr. Vartabedian delivered a paper to the National Communication Association titled “The Dialogue of Desperation: Toward a Communication Perspective on Suicide.” After a student committed suicide in 2013, Dr. Vartabedian created a chart titled “A Model of Suicidal Communication,” which has been used by staff members at Missouri Western to better understand the communicated signs and possible responses to suicidal communication.