The Colorado state House of Representatives is considering a bill that would mandate the printing of suicide hotline numbers to student ID cards. The move would add Colorado to a list of states to pass similar legislation, including California, Wisconsin, Nebraska and others.
If passed by the state Senate, House Bill 1007 would require higher education institutions in Colorado to print the phone numbers of both state and national mental health crisis and suicide hotlines on the back of all student ID cards beginning in August 2023.
"I think we’re going to save some lives," said bill sponsor Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “If somebody actually needs that number, they have easy access to it. And it normalizes the idea that people do need access to that number."
Suicide is reportedly the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults in the state of Colorado. In 2021, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado reported that 10% of Colorado’s suicide deaths were among college-aged adults, age 19 to 24 -- nearly twice the rate of children aged 10 to 18.
The House voted 59-3 in support of the bill, advancing it to the state Senate. Rep. Scott Bottoms, an opposing voice to the bill, stated his belief that the legislature shouldn't force businesses "to do the government's bidding."
"The government is always forcing businesses to spend their own money to accomplish all these extra things. This is about good governance," stated Bottoms, adding that students already have access to and are aware of suicide hotlines.
Last year, Colorado legislature passed a similar bill requiring suicide hotlines to be added to high school student ID cards. In addition to expanding the mandate to colleges and universities, HB 1007 would also require institutions to distribute suicide hotline information to students who were already issued campus cards prior to the change taking effect.