Student in California? Your student ID will now include suicide prevention hotline

ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
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Every new school year comes with a lot of changes. This year students might notice a change to their student ID.

PLEASANTON, Calif. (KGO) -- Every new school year comes with a lot of changes-- this year students might notice a change to their student ID.

As part of a new California law, starting this school year, student IDs for every student in grades 7th through 12th and for college students will have suicide prevention information printed on the back. It's required at all public, private and charter schools.

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At Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, parent after parent told ABC7 News the addition to the student ID was a "great idea."

"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," said Ray Morgan, whose daughter Paige started as a freshman at Amador Valley High on Monday.

Every school district's ID cards will look slightly different but all have the same message.

In the Pleasanton Unified School District, the cards have four numbers printed on the back, including the national suicide prevention hotline and a local, anonymous student tip-line students can call or text.

The reason behind the new law? The alarmingly high suicide rate among youth.

According to new research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 5,016 males and 1,225 females between the ages of 15 and 24 died by suicide in the U.S. in 2017-- a record high.

Some experts say shows like "13 Reasons Why"-- which films in Vallejo and tells the story of a teen who takes her own life-- have added to the problem.

"Almost no one talks about it, which I think is kind of bad," Simone Campbell-Saito, a freshman at Amador Valley High School, explained, "Because there's a lot of people that have depression out there who need help who don't actually get it."

Simone's mom, Jennifer Saito, hopes this new law will make it harder to ignore.

"It's a good sign because it's showing our society talks openly about these things now," Saito said.