COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Last year, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law the Student ID Suicide Prevention Act. It entered into force at the beginning of this month.
The law requires that all school-issued identification cards for students in middle school or higher in South Carolina have the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number printed on them. The legislation also applies to higher education.
Schools are also required to include at least one other resource, such as the Crisis Text Line.
Last year, some schools started phasing it in.
State Department of Mental Health officials said the goal was to normalize help-seeking.
The Bureau’s suicide prevention program manager, Jessica Barnes, said: ‘It gives them proof that life is hard and there are times when we need to reach out to people.’
According to Barnes, suicide is the third leading cause of death among South Carolinians between the ages of 10 and 24.
From next week, the number 988 of the suicide hotline will be operational. Officials estimate that the volume of calls will increase.
Bill Lindsey is the executive director of the South Carolina chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He said it was crucial to remind students of mental health resources, especially at this time.
“It is significant. Comes at a time when we are in the midst of a mental health crisis. Coming out of the pandemic is one thing, but so is everything else in general. The pandemic has only exacerbated that,” Lindsey said.
Barnes and Lindsey agreed that it’s not just numbers printed on a card, it’s a form of hope to help those who might be struggling.
“Having that number right there and knowing there’s someone out there who can help. I think it’s huge,” Lindsey said.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (or 988 from July 16, 2022).