Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT) reintroduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and John Kennedy (R-LA). The bill, The Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act, will help address suicide amongst teens and young adults by increasing access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Crisis Text Line.

Rep. Chris Stewart said, “Now, possibly more than ever before, young people need access to mental health resources. This legislation increases awareness and access to those resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, by requiring them to be clearly labeled on Student IDs. This is a simple, commonsense step that sends an important message to those struggling with mental health challenges: You are not alone.”

Rep. Lou Correa said, “My legislation is straightforward—too many of our young people are taking their own lives, and we must act. By adding crucial suicide prevention information to Student I.D.s and college websites, we can ensure at-risk students have options. I am grateful to my colleagues for stepping up and addressing suicide amongst our youth. Every young person deserves a future. We must do everything we can to ensure they get one.” 

To raise awareness of these available resources, the bill requires colleges and universities to provide the contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline; Crisis Text Line; and a campus mental health center, if applicable, on student identification cards. For colleges and universities that do not provide identification cards to their students, schools must ensure that the information is available on their website.  

In 2017, there were more than 47,000 suicides nationwide, making it the tenth leading cause of death. Among teenagers and young adults, the suicide rate is particularly alarming, with suicide reported as the second-leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24. 

Suicide is a significant public health problem. Providing information on existing suicide prevention resources can help students experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional distress and potentially save lives.

Find the bill text here.