COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster was joined today by Lieutenant Governor Pamela S. Evette, members of the General Assembly, and state leaders for a ceremonial bill signing of S.231, the Student Identification Card Suicide Prevention Act. The act requires public schools serving 7th through 12th grade and public and private institutions of higher learning to provide the phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and an additional crisis resource of their choosing on school-issued student identification cards.
“This law not only provides our students with easy access to a vital resource, it will also serve as a daily reminder that they are not alone,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “Through the work of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and many others, South Carolina has developed statewide infrastructure to support those in need. We must continue to fight to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and work to ensure all South Carolinians know how to reach out for help.”
In addition to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, each school is to add the social media platform, telephone number, or text number for at least one other resource that best fits the needs of their school or community. Options include, but are not limited to, the Crisis Text Line, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, a local suicide prevention hotline, campus police, or local law enforcement.
"The pressures of society are even stronger now than they have ever been," said Lt. Governor Pamela S. Evette. "This number will give our parents peace of mind in knowing that our children have the resources they need to reach out to to get good, safe advice."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States. The Lifeline is comprised of a national network of over 180 local crisis centers, combining custom local care and resources with national standards and best practices. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.
"On the surface, this bill just looks like a number on the back of an ID card, but in reality, it is a lifeline," said Director of S.C. Department of Mental Health Dr. Ken Rogers. "It is something that young people will be able to look at and know there is a number to call to get help."
"This act will save lives," said South Carolina State Senator Katrina Shealy. "It will put valuable resources directly into the hands of our young people who oftentimes don't know where to turn in times of personal crisis."
South Carolina is the 9th state to pass student identification card suicide prevention legislation.