On Thursday, July 16th, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 28, which would create suicide prevention programs at Ohio’s institutions of higher education. The bill, sponsored by State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) received bipartisan, unanimous support from both chambers.
As written, the bill would require a five-part program to be implemented to help both on and off campus students who may be suffering in silence. The program will consist of crisis intervention access, mental health program access, multimedia applications, a student communication plan, and a postvention plan. Each public institution shall provide all incoming students with information on available depression and suicide prevention resources. All prevention materials shall be posted on the websites of The Department of Higher Education and The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Prevention materials are available FREE of cost.
Sadly, suicide was the second leading cause of death from ages 15-24, and now the third leading cause of death for those ages 10-24 in Ohio, according to 2013 data. As a state, Ohio is above the national average.
“House Bill 28 is a common-sense piece of legislation that solely aims to improve the lives of our young adults by providing free resources and help,” Rep. Anielski said. “We as legislators rely on facts in helping us make these important decisions. The statistics are overwhelmingly obvious that Ohio needs to take a stronger approach to preventing suicide, especially amongst our young adults. I am grateful to all of my colleagues for recognizing the importance of the legislation for protecting our most precious gifts, our children.”
House Bill 28 will take effect in October.