Tennessee bill would require suicide prevention hotline to be listed on student IDs

The goal is to put resources into the hands of youth
school students
Posted at 8:03 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 09:40:24-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Tennessee bill called the "Save Tennessee Students Act" aims to make it easier for a student to get help in a crisis.

It is a really simple and straightforward bill. If it passes, districts would have to put the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline onto student IDs for kids in grades six through 12.

"Certainly we want to make sure our students who are in dire distress and who might consider taking their own life to have some resources to be available and to be right at their hands so they realize there are people there to help them," said Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, in a recent hearing.

Sen. Akbari said suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids ages 10 to 24.

The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network reports in 2020, there were 54 suicides in Tennessee kids ages 10 to 19. That same year, more than 1,200 Tennesseans died by suicide.

The bill is on the Senate's regular calendar Thursday. It'll also be heard in the House Calendar and Rules Committee.

This isn't the first time the legislature has tackled suicide prevention. In 2019, lawmakers approved a recurring $500,000 in state funding for kids and young adult suicide prevention and mental health awareness.

If you or a loved one need help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.