In the 131st Legislature, I submitted a bipartisan bill, L.D. 1263, to help save the lives of students.

It adds the 988 number for the Suicide and Crisis Hotline to school ID cards and requires all public and charter schools and all public and private universities that already issue student IDs to include the 988 number for sixth grade through college age students.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that, from 2017 to current, 13,782 teenagers 19 and under went to the emergency room having intent to commit suicide. Supporters believe every student needs access to vital support and counsel in a life-threatening situation.

Passing this bill could save a life and offers another way of addressing our mental health challenges. Calling 988 would route the caller to the closest area code for immediate help. Passage would have minimal, if any, local cost to implement. A similar bill was signed into New Hampshire law in August 2022.

This bipartisan bill passed through committee and was adopted by the House and Senate. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports this bill and stressed the need for increased mental health programs and resources that are available for struggling students. The Maine Education Association, Maine Superintendents Association, Maine School Board Association, and Maine Administrators of Services for Children with Disabilities support the bill.

The bill sits on the special appropriations table. Let’s finish the bipartisan work on this bill, so we can focus on saving lives.

I hope people call their representatives and senators and insist this bill be moved forward.

Rep. Sheila Lyman, Livermore Falls

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