ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona student IDs to require suicide prevention phone number by July 1

Apr 27, 2021, 4:55 AM
Example of the Teen Lifeline phone number on a student ID. (Courtesy photo/Teen Lifeline)...
Example of the Teen Lifeline phone number on a student ID. (Courtesy photo/Teen Lifeline)
(Courtesy photo/Teen Lifeline)

PHOENIX — High schools and universities will be required to start printing a suicide prevention phone number on student ID cards starting July 1.

This is a new requirement under a bill signed into law last year.

Nikki Kontz, clinical director for Teen Lifeline, said this will send a powerful message.

“There are lots of ways that people give up everyday, not just suicide,” she told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “So I think the message this really tells the kids and tells families is that there is support out there.”

Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB1446 into law last June, joining a handful of other states with similar laws requiring a suicide prevention phone number to appear on student IDs.

It requires schools to add contact information for suicide prevention resources, including a hotline or support services. State Sen. Sean Bowie, D-Phoenix, sponsored the bill.

“Teens and young adults need to be aware of the resources available to them,” Bowie said in a statement. “Expanding this requirement statewide will give every public high school and college student immediate access to help when they need it.”

Numerous Arizona schools already print suicide prevention information on the IDs issued to students.

Currently, about 260 middle schools and high schools throughout Arizona print the Teen Lifeline phone number on the back of their student IDs.

Pinnacle High School in the Paradise Valley Unified School District was the first to do so in 2015 with the help of Troy Bales, who was the school’s principal at the time. He’s now the district’s incoming superintendent.

Bales stated that printing the Teen Lifeline phone number on student ID cards “shows our students, parents and staff that we care.”

“This simple change removes the stigma of asking for help from peers, teachers, guidance counselors or an anonymous call to Teen Lifeline,” he said.

Teens can call Teen Lifeline’s crisis line at 602-248-8336 (TEEN) 24 hours a day. They can also text the same phone number from 3-9 p.m. daily for peer counseling.

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Arizona student IDs to require suicide prevention phone number by July 1