(TRENTON) – Higher education institutions and public schools that include grades seven through twelve would be required to print the phone number of a suicide prevention hotline on the back of any student identification cards issued to students under legislation approved Wednesday by the Assembly Higher Education Committee.
Depression among adolescents and young adults increased significantly between 2009 and 2017, marking a 60 percent climb among youth ages 14 to 17; 47 percent for ages 12 to 13; and 46 percent for ages 18 to 21.
The measure (A-1616) mirrors legislation passed in other states, including Wisconsin, Michigan and California.
Sponsors of the bill, Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) released the following joint statement:
“Any time a student is in crisis, we want them to know that help is available and that they’re not alone. At a time when so many young people are isolated from friends and loved ones and unable to do activities they enjoy, it’s never been more important to ensure students have access to mental health resources and know where to go if they’re in trouble.
“By including suicide hotline information on their student ID cards, students will need to look no further than their pocket, wallet or backpack to get the help they need. This simple change will have the potential to save young lives.”