UPSTATE, S.C. (WSPA) – Lawmakers in the South Carolina House and Senate approved a bill that would require schools to add the suicide prevention hotline to student I.D. cards.
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health said over the last 5 years they’ve seen an increase in deaths by suicide for people between the ages of 10 and 19 years old.
The bill would require middle schools, high schools and colleges to print the suicide prevention phone number along with a least one additional crisis resource on either side of the card.
Lawmakers are leaving the decision on the school district to decide which appropriate additional crisis resource they want to include on the cards.
Mental health professionals said intervening early by providing resources is key to preventing suicide.
“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, said.
Data from the S.C. Department of mental health shows that 851 South Carolinians died from suicide in 2019.
- Previous suicide attempt
- Mental illness, such as depression
- Social isolation
- Criminal problems
- Financial problems
- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
- Job problems or loss
- Legal problems
- Serious illness
- Substance use disorder
For additional suicide prevention resources, click here.