Michigan schools to have suicide prevention resources on IDs

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan public schools will be required to put a suicide prevention hotline number on student identification cards, under a law signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The measure that Whitmer signed into law Thursday covers students in grades six through 12. The suicide rate for Michigan’s residents, ages 10 to 24, was 10.6 per 100,000 people in 2017, a jump from 6.3 in 2007, according to the state.

The state said it’s the second-leading cause of death for people in that age category.

Schools will be required to provide a suicide hotline number that is accessible at all times. The bill also requires the state health department to provide information about mental health and suicide if schools request it.

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The sponsor, Rep. Andrea Schroeder, a Republican from Oakland County, said she was inspired to introduce the legislation by a family whose 15-year-old died from suicide in 2019 and by her daughter’s classmate who also died last year.

“We have services available to help our young people when they are struggling, don’t know where to turn, and desperately need someone to listen,” Schroeder added. “Printing the number for a 24/7 hotline directly on student identification cards means the information is always close at hand and available. It could be a lifeline for children and their families.”

Michigan follows California, which passed a similar measure in 2019. Wisconsin took matters a step further, requiring all public schools and universities to have suicide hotline numbers printed on student ID cards.

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Anna Liz Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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