New legislation may reduce youth suicide
City News Service | 2/9/2018, midnight
A Southland lawmaker this week unveiled state legislation that would require all public, charter and private schools to print a suicide prevention hotline number on the back of students’ identification cards.
“It is a little bittersweet for me to introduce SB 972, because I’m proud to do it but I’m saddened that it’s necessary,’’ said Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, (D-La Canada Flintridge). “Providing this information is a simple thing to do and will protect our students who face mental illness and suicidal thoughts. As a community, we should provide potential lifesaving information to prevent unfortunate events.’’
If the bill passes and is signed by the governor, the requirement would go into effect on July 1, 2019, for grades 7-12 and all higher-education institutions, he said.
Portantino noted he and his family have been personally affected by suicide.
“After my brother’s suicide, I was saddened to learn that so many friends, neighbors and strangers had family members who struggled with suicide,’’ he said. “I don’t want to read about another young person who takes his or her own life. I am committed to carry legislation that will bring mental health out of the shadows into everyday conversation without stigma. If SB 972 saves only one life, it is well worth our efforts.’’
Portantino said his bill has a number of co-sponsors, including Sens. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco).
Portantino represents nearly 930,000 people in the 25th Senate District, which includes Altadena, Atwater Village, Bradbury, Burbank, Claremont, Duarte, Glendale, Glendora, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta, La Verne, Monrovia, Montrose, Pasadena, San Dimas, San Marino, Shadow Hills, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Sunland-Tujunga and Upland.