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Bill Introduced to Improve Suicide Prevention Resources for Students

Cutting across party lines, two Republican and Democratic representatives have come together to introduce a bill in Congress to raise awareness of existing suicide prevention resources among college students.

On Tuesday, Congressmen Chris Stewart (R-UT) and J. Luis Correa (D-CA) introduced the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act, which is supported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Crisis Text Line, and Active Minds.

If passed, the bill would require higher education institutions to provide the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; Crisis Text Line; and a campus mental health center on student identification cards or on their websites.

“A loss of life at any age is tragic, but it is especially heartbreaking losing students at such an exciting and pivotal time in their lives,” Rep. Stewart said in a statement. “This bill will make existing critical resources more visible for those in crisis and improve mental health across college campuses.”

Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced a companion bill in the Senate as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2017 suicide was one of the top leading causes of death in the country, claiming the lives of over 47,000 people. It was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.

Recently, in an effort to help students better cope with mental health struggles, many colleges are testing out and implementing new innovative forms of counseling, turning away from traditional one-on-one therapy sessions.

In March, the American College Health Foundation (ACHF) and United Healthcare Student Resources launched a new “National College WellStart Program” to bring together college mental health experts to create a comprehensive training program for incoming first-year students, focusing on how to maintain positive psychology and successfully adjusting to their new environments.

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