Bill to Add National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number to Student IDs Approved

Beverly Cantrell - March 15, 2022 2:17 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY –

Given that suicide is the second leading cause of death among Oklahoma children, adolescents, and young adults ages 10–24, Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City, wants to ensure students have help at their fingertips in moments of crisis. The Senate approved his Senate Bill 1307 Tuesday to provide the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number on student identification cards.

“Suicide among youth has been increasing steadily in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, nearly 40 kids in Oklahoma under the age of 17 tragically took their own lives,” Coleman said. “In adolescents, the cause of suicide is often unknown, but having access to an understanding ear at a moment’s notice who can help them work through their stress, anger or feelings of hopelessness can save lives. By having this phone number on their student ID, they have a daily reminder that they are not alone and there is always someone there for them.”

Beginning July 1. 2023, school districts and charter schools would be required to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988 on student ID cards for 7th graders and up. The state Department of Mental Health and Rehabilitative Services (ODMHRS) is working to launch 988 this summer in Oklahoma.  

“The Department of Mental Health is doing a great job getting the new 988 ready for Oklahoma,” Coleman said. “I think having a simple three-digit phone number will be easier to remember and use, and hopefully Oklahomans, especially our youth, will take advantage of this resource in their time of need.”

SB 1307 will also allow schools the option of printing the Crisis Text Line on ID cards, which can be accessed by texting HOME to 741741. The bill further states legislative intent that, beginning July 1, 2023, state and private institutions of higher education that issue student ID cards will also print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline telephone number, the Crisis Text Line, and the campus police or security telephone number on their cards.

According to the state Medical Examiner’s Office, 883 Oklahomans committed suicide in 2020, including 38 between the ages of 8 and 17 and another 112 ages 18 to 24. Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) showed that one in four students reported they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row, so much so they stopped doing some usual activities.

For more information, contact:  Sen. Coleman: (405) 521-5581 or [email protected]

 

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