SC lawmaker wants to put suicide prevention number on student identification

State - Regional

LANCASTER, SC (WSPA/WBTW) – Forty-one children in South Carolina died by suicide in 2018; an alarming statistic.

Agencies across the state have been working to raise awareness and now a state lawmaker is joining in on the fight.

Representative Mandy Powers Norrell wants South Carolina students to be more aware of the resources that are just a phone call away.

The lawmaker prefiled a bill in December requiring schools to place the suicide hotline number on students’ identification cards. It’s an attempt to make sure students always have access to the prevention number.

“These students have these cards with them pretty much everywhere they go. They wear them on lanyards around their necks to identify them as students so, they will always have that number,” explained Representative Powers Norrell.

According to the state’s child fatality report, suicide is the leading cause of death for South Carolina youth ages 11-14. Suicide made up 81% of deaths for youth in that age group. Suicide was also a leading cause of death for teenagers ages 15-17, making up more than 60% of the deaths in 2018.

Representative Powers Norrell says putting this number in a student’s eyesight could save lives.

“Very often they’re trying to escape a situation that is actually temporary, but it doesn’t feel temporary at the time, so I feel if they have the ability to talk to someone and that number right there on their I.D. they have all the time it may cut down on some of these suicides we are seeing.”

This proposal would not require schools that do not already issue identification cards to start issuing them. The bill would go into effect in 2021.

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