California law puts a suicide hotline number on school ID cards

Posted at 3:46 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-14 18:47:42-04

(CNN) — California high school and middle school students will have some lifesaving information at their fingertips as they go back to school this year.

Alaw that went into effect in July requires schools to print the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on student ID cards for seventh- through 12th-graders in public, private and charter schools.

That number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).The law also says that student IDs may have information on the Crisis Text Line — which can be reached by texting HOME to 741741 — as well as local suicide prevention resources.

"I think any opportunity for somebody to have a number to be able to call out to, reach out to and be available, I think it's fantastic," Ray Morgan told CNN affiliate KGO. His daughter is a freshman at a San Francisco Bay Area high school.

The move comes as suicide rates continue to rise in the United States.

The suicide rate in 2017 was 33% higher than it was in 1999, according to annual research published in June by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.

A study published in the medical journal JAMA found a significant increase in the suicide rates among 15- to 24-year-olds between 2000 and 2017.

Dave Muth, who advocated for the law, told CNN affiliate KESQ that he hopes it encourages people to talk openly about suicide and mental health. His daughter Madeline died by suicide in 2015.

"This is a way of remembering her, honoring her and helping to break down the stigma and change policy so that other families don't have to experience what we did," Muth said last year when then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure.

To get help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). There is also a crisis text line. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454.