‘Save Our Students’ initiative will connect troubled youth with crisis hotline
The Michigan House today approved Rep. Andrea Schroeder’s ‘Save Our Students’ plan – an important step toward preventing suicide and getting young people the help they need in times of trouble.
The measure passed unanimously and next advances to the Michigan Senate for further consideration.
Schroeder’s legislation would require schools that issue identification cards to include a 24-hour crisis and suicide prevention hotline on each card for students in grades 6 through 12. The mission is to combat the second-leading cause of death for Michigan young people between the ages of 10 and 24.
“We have services available to help young people in our communities – but we need better ways to connect and make the service easily accessible when help is needed most,” said Schroeder, of Oakland County’s Independence Township. “That’s exactly what the ‘Save Our Students’ plan does. It will serve as a reminder that there is always help available and a listening ear for our young people when they are going through a difficult time and don’t know where to turn.”
The suggestion for Schroeder’s plan came from grieving Oakland County parents who lost their 15-year-old son to suicide last year. Kris and Joe Miller shared their story about their son, Nikolai, with the House Education Committee last week.
The Millers said teens need immediate access to readily available help when they are in emotional pain – noting kids aren’t going to Google for this type of information during a crisis.
“Having a 24/7 hotline printed on student ID cards lets kids know they have options” and could start conversations that might provide turning points for families, Nikolai’s mother, Kris Miller, told lawmakers.
Michigan’s youth suicide rate has been climbing over the past decade. Schroeder’s proposal is designed to fight this trend.
School districts would print phone numbers for a suicide prevention hotline of their choosing – local, statewide, or nationwide – on each card for students in grades 6 through 12. There is no mandate to issue identification cards – the proposal applies only to schools that choose to provide students with ID cards, and the hotline number can be easily incorporated into card designs.
Schroeder’s plan also calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide information materials for schools related to suicide prevention, depression, and anxiety. Schools would be encouraged to display this information on their websites and in select locations within school buildings.
The legislation is House Bill 5482.
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