Student I-D cards in New Jersey schools will now include suicide prevention hotline number
In an effort to prevent suicide among youth and remind anyone in a troubled situation that help is available, a new law has just been signed in New Jersey that would bring that message to students on a daily basis.
There is legislation (S-550) which will now require student ID cards to feature a phone number for a suicide prevention hotline on it, that was signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on Monday, according to an announcement from State Senator Joe Pennacchio who sponsored the bill.
The upper level grades of elementary education (7-12) as well as colleges and universities now fall under the requirements of this legislation which states that each educational institution has to put that specific phone number on the back of every student ID.
“I am pleased that the Governor signed this bill into law today. There has been an extremely alarming rise in depression and suicide among students of all ages,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) said in a statement. “The availability of professional help during times of distress can mean the difference between life and death. Doing something simple yet important, such as printing the hotline number on every student ID, will help stem this tragic epidemic and give young people access to the mental health resources and support they need.”
Senator Pennacchio points to numbers from the CDC, which for New Jersey alone, state that the there were 291 youth suicides (ages 10-24) between 2016 and 2018, a period that finishes tops over the last twenty years followed by 211 suicides among youth in that age bracket between 2007 and 2009.
The youth suicide rate for that age bracket and for those years specified, rose in 42 of the 50 states across the country, according to the CDC.
The hope is that having the number on the back of student id's here in New Jersey will help but if you or someone you know, no matter what age, are struggling at any day or night, there is always help available be it from family, friends, coaches, teachers, co-workers as well as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.
You are not alone.
Previous reporting by Dino Flammia was used in this report.