‘Save Our Students’ initiative will connect troubled youth with crisis hotline
The Michigan Legislature today gave its final approval to Rep. Andrea Schroeder’s ‘Save Our Students’ plan – geared toward preventing suicide and helping young people when they need help the most.
The measure unanimously passed the Senate on Wednesday and unanimously passed the House today. The measure next advances to Gov. Whitmer for her consideration.
Schroeder’s ‘Save Our Students’ plan requires 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 our young people when they are struggling, don’t know where to turn, and desperately need someone to listen,” Schroeder said. “The ‘Save Our Students’ initiative will help connect those services with our young people in their greatest time of need.”
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 legislators as the Save Our Students proposal advanced. Rep. Schroeder was also inspired to action by the suicide death of her daughter’s classmate, who died one year ago today.
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.
“Printing the number for a 24/7 hotline directly on student identification cards means the information is always close at hand and available,” Schroeder said. “It could be a lifeline for children and their families.”
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.
Rep. Andrea Schroeder today said a plan soon to be introduced in the Michigan House offers a framework to improve the state’s response for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These new measures are a significant step forward to keep people safe and provide the help they need during what continues to be a very challenging time – in Oakland County and all across Michigan,” said Schroeder, of Independence Township. “This is a smart strategy that improves the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic across the board – helping families put food on the table, pay their bills, and stay healthy.”