OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Senate gave its approval to a bill that would require Oklahoma school districts and charter schools that issue student identification cards to 7th-12th grade students to print on either side of the card the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988, with the option of also adding the Crisis Text Line to be printed on the card, as well. It would also require Oklahoma higher education institutions with student IDs to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, the Crisis Text Line and the campus police or security phone number on the ID cards.
“Senate Bill 1307, upon its passage, will do some really good things,” said SB1307’s author, Senator Bill Coleman, R-District 10 on the Senate floor. “In my market in Ponca City, you’ll drive around, you’ll see some yard signs. They say, ‘you matter,’ ‘someone cares,’ ‘hang in there #braydoncares.’ Braydon took his life a few years ago, and hopefully with the passage of this bill and the implementation of a 988 call center, young people having a mental health crisis will be able to push on their phone 9-8-8 and get the help they need.”
This bill, if it becomes law, would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
“Suicide among youth has been increasing steadily in recent years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, nearly 40 kids in Oklahoma under the age of 17 tragically took their own lives,” said Sen. Coleman. “In adolescents, the cause of suicide is often unknown, but having access to an understanding ear at a moment’s notice who can help them work through their stress, anger or feelings of hopelessness can save lives. By having this phone number on their student ID, they have a daily reminder that they are not alone and there is always someone there for them.”
According to a press release from Sen. Coleman, the State Department of Mental Health and Rehabilitative Services (ODMHRS) plans to launch 988 this summer. The Crisis Text Line on the IDs can be accessed by texting HOME to 741741.
“The Department of Mental Health is doing a great job getting the new 988 ready for Oklahoma,” said Sen. Coleman. “I think having a simple three-digit phone number will be easier to remember and use, and hopefully Oklahomans, especially our youth, will take advantage of this resource in their time of need.”
SB1307 passed on the Senate floor Tuesday, March 15 with a 39-4 vote. It will now head to the House for consideration.