Legislature unanimously passes bill to prevent student suicides

Schools that issue student IDs would be required to incorporate a suicide prevention hotline on the cards
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.(National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
Published: Sep. 25, 2020 at 11:57 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 to 24 in Michigan, but lawmakers are hoping to curb that with a new requirement that unanimously passed the Legislature this week.

A bill heading to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would require schools to publish a 24-hour crisis suicide prevention hotline on IDs for students in grades 6 to 12. The Michigan House and Senate both approved the bill this week with zero votes against it.

Republican State Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Clarkston sponsored the Save Our Students plan to reduce the suicide rate among students.

“We have services available to help our young people when they are struggling, don’t know where to turn, and desperately need someone to listen,” she said. “The Save Our Students initiative will help connect those services with our young people in their greatest time of need.”

Schroeder got a suggestion for the plan from Oakland County parents Kris and Joe Miller, who lost their 15-year-old son to suicide. A classmate of Schroeder’s daughter also committed suicide a year ago.

“Printing the number for a 24/7 hotline directly on student identification cards means the information is always close at hand and available,” Schroeder said. “It could be a lifeline for children and their families.”

School districts can decide which suicide prevention hotline to put on their student ID cards, and schools also can opt out of providing student IDs altogether. Any IDs that are issued, however, must include a hotline for students in grades 6 to 12.

The bill also encourages schools to prominently display information about suicide prevention, depression and anxiety from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

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