The South Carolina House and Senate have unanimously passed a bill requiring schools to include a suicide prevention hotline on student identification cards.
The bill will mandate that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as well as at least one other crisis resource, be printed on student identification cards in middle schools, high schools, and colleges.
The school board will determine which appropriate additional crisis resource they want to include on the cards. It could be a dating abuse prevention organization or something else entirely.
Preventing suicide, according to mental health experts, requires intervening early and offering support.
“Early intervention is key to not only saving lives but increasing the quality of life. When we can get to kids at a young age and say ‘Your life matters, your voice matters, and you are needed in this world’ and give them a way to connect—- then we can help them through these difficult times they’re struggling with,” Jennifer Butler, LISW-CP, director of DSCDMH‘s Office of Suicide Prevention, explained.
According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, there has been a rise in suicide deaths among people aged 10 to 19 in the last five years.
The suicide hotline requirement will not take effect until July 2022, and the bill allows schools to continue issuing cards without the crisis line details until supplies run out.
Visit suicide prevention resources to learn something about suicide prevention.