The State Assembly’s Education Policy Committee has passed SB 972, the suicide prevention legislation authored by Pasadena-area Senator Anthony J. Portantino, that would require public, charter, and private schools to print a suicide prevention hotline number and/or text crisis lines on student identification cards for grades seven through college.
Portantino introduced the legislation in February out of his concern for mounting cases of adolescent suicide and self-inflicted injuries. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages to 15 to 24, making it a serious social and public health concern.
“I am so glad that this important piece of legislation continues to garner support,” Portantino said when the bill passed the education committee. “As a father and a legislator, the safety of our children continues to be a priority. In addition to the practical benefit to students I hope to foster an open dialogue about suicide and to help prevent these horrific tragedies. If one life can be saved through this bill all of our efforts will have been worth it.”
Portantino’s bill would make printing of the suicide prevention and/or text crisis lines on student ID cards mandatory starting on July 1, 2019.
Senator Portantino, who has a distinguished record supporting children’s well-being, is a strong advocate for suicide prevention and mental health policy. The bill is also personal for Senator Portantino as his family has been affected by suicide
A number of organizations have expressed support for SB 972, among them the American Academy of Pediatrics California, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, California Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, California Catholic Conference, California Junior Leagues’ State Public Affairs Committee, and the Palo Alto Mid-Peninsula Junior League.
Other supporters of the bill include the California School Boards Association, California School Nurses Organization, California State PTA, County Behavioral Health Directors Association, Disability Rights California, Hathaway-Sycamores, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, High School Parent Engagement Group, Mental Health America of California, Pacific Clinics, and the Special Education Local Plan Area Administrators of California.