By Bob Katzen
Another bill heard by the Education Committee would require that beginning August 1, 2020 all public schools that teach grades 7 to 12 and all state colleges that issue student ID cards to include the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Crisis Text Line and the school’s campus police or security telephone number. If the school does not have a campus police or security telephone number, the local nonemergency telephone number would be provided.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10-to 24-year-olds in the United States,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “Suicide rates in Massachusetts have increased by over 35 percent in the past 20 years. The risk is especially high for LGBTQ youth, who are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts and attempt suicide than their straight peers.”
“Students report not knowing that school-based support is available, perceive them as difficult to access, or are concerned about stigma that may follow if school employees know they are struggling,” continued Comerford. “Putting crisis phone numbers on the back of ID cards would ensure that every student is aware of free, confidential resources available to them at any time.”