WASHINGTON, DC, June 11, 2019 – Today U.S. Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) and Representatives Lou Correa (D-CA) and Chris Stewart (R-UT) introduced legislation to promote student access to lifesaving suicide prevention resources. The Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act would require universities to include suicide prevention crisis numbers to be printed on the back of all student ID cards.
“It can be really hard to be a kid in the world today. These mental health resources can be lifesaving, and college students deserve to know what help is available to them when they need it most,” says Sen. Kennedy. “I hope that this legislation will shed light on the many resources that students can access whenever they need an attentive ear or proper medical attention.”
“A loss of life at any age is tragic, but it is especially heartbreaking losing students at such an exciting and pivotal time in their lives,” says Representative Stewart. “This bill will make existing critical resources more visible for those in crisis and improve mental health across college campuses.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and two-thirds of students with anxiety or depression don’t seek treatment. The high rates of depression and suicidal thoughts among the student population, coupled with recent data released by the CDC citing increased suicides in the United States, underscores the extraordinary need for access to crisis intervention support and suicide prevention resources.
“No campus is immune to mental health issues,” says Alison Malmon, Founder and Executive Director of Active Minds. “Any student who has received a late-night, concerning text from a friend knows we can’t predict when we might need to provide or seek help. That’s why this bill is so important. Each student ID card should have crisis information printed on the back so if someone needs help, they only have to look as far as their pocket to get the help that they need.”
Active Minds, Crisis Text Line, and The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline partnered on the first campaign to support colleges and universities in their efforts to add mental health and suicide prevention crisis numbers to student ID cards. With this new legislation, Active Minds can turn its efforts to other Transform Your Campus campaigns that continue to support mental health advocacy and suicide prevention.
“Over the past ten years, we’ve seen an alarming trend of rising suicide rates among young people,” says Sen. Jones. “Students should know that there are resources to help them deal with the pressures of being a college student and take care of their mental health. This bill helps remove the stigma associated with mental health issues and helps spread awareness about the resources that are available to students.”
“My legislation is straightforward—too many of our young people are taking their own lives, and we must act. By adding crucial suicide prevention information to Student I.D.s and college websites, we can ensure at-risk students have options,” says Representative Correa. “I am grateful to my colleagues for stepping up and addressing suicide amongst our youth. Every young person deserves a future. We must do everything we can to ensure they get one.”
You can view Active Minds’ letter of support here.
About Active Minds
Active Minds is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization supporting mental health awareness and education for young adults. Active Minds has a presence on over 700 colleges, universities, and high schools nationwide powered by our chapter network, Send Silence Packing® exhibit, and our Active Minds Speakers. The organization is dedicated to supporting a new generation in ending the silence and changing the conversation about mental health for everyone.
Angela Gillis | Active Minds
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