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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: August 3, 2017 09:35 AM
From: Senator Vincent J. Hughes
To: All Senate members
Subject: Enacting the recommendations of the joint state government commission on suicide in higher education
Last session, the Senate passed Senate Resolution 7, which directed the Joint State Government Commission (JSGC) to create a Task Force on Suicide in Higher Education. The JSGC released their report on June 30th, 2017. The report can be viewed here.

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for college students, and over 85% of college students that commit suicide have never been in contact with a campus counselor.

The diversity of the Commonwealth’s institutions of higher education are not conducive to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. My bill will enact the recommendations of the JSGC report by amending Title 24 (Education) to create a new chapter on Suicide Prevention in Institutions of Higher Education.

This bill will allow institutions to tailor their policy to their specific needs, but still require them to follow certain guidelines such as:
  • Contact information for suicide prevention hotlines and resources;
  • 24/7 access to crisis intervention services;
  • Access to mental health services;
  • Access to resources via various multimedia means;
  • Student communication/outreach plans;
  • Post intervention plans after losing a student to suicide.
In addition, the bill requires that the policy be distributed to students at the beginning of each semester and posting of the policy on the institute of higher education’s website.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this meaningful legislation that will prevent our college students from ending their lives before they have even started. Please contact my office if you have any questions.

Introduced as SB330