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New Senate bill could require ALL campus cards to feature mental health resources

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jan 22, 2021  ||   

A new bill was unanimously passed by the United States Senate that, if signed into law, would affect campus card programs at all US colleges and universities. The bill calls for mental health resource information and hotlines to be printed on all student ID cards issued by US higher education institutions.

The significance of the proposed bill, "S.1782 - Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act," is that it would for the first time include all higher education institutions nationwide that issue campus cards to print mental health resources on student ID cards.

On December 20, 2020, the US Senate unanimously passed the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act. The bill would require all higher education institutions to "Include phone contact information on each card for the following organizations:"

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Crisis Text Line
  • A campus mental health center or program, as determined by the institution

Prior to this latest bit of legislation, the printing of mental health resources on campus cards was limited to individual universities making the decision. The largest applications of the mental health resource mandates up to this point were seen on a state-by-state basis, with California, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and others mandating the printing of the resources at universities within their own borders.

The exact details regarding how and when universities will have to incorporate the new requirements into their card issuance processes remains to be seen. The bill must still pass the House, and it's assumed that the bill would still not go into effect until one year after it’s been signed by the President, which may be as early as 2022.

To get a better handle on what this could mean going forward, CR80News posed the question to identification solutions supplier, ColorID, who provides card issuance services and solutions to a large number of US institutions. ColorID is one of the companies in the campus card space following the bill's progress closely to ensure it has accurate information readily available for its campus clients.

The company has already been engaging in conversations with several of its higher education customers following the bill's unanimous passing by the US Senate. "This will create a few challenges for institutions, but ColorID is in a position to help guide our customer partners through the process," says Danny Smith, Executive Vice President of ColorID. "In fact, there are higher education institutions that are currently re-prioritizing space and design of the message on the back of the student ID card."

As for what the printed resources will look like on actual cards, much is still yet to be determined. But regardless of how it's implemented, ColorID's Smith sees the merit behind the bill as unquestionable.

"I believe the placement of this information could be an effective support benefit to a young person suffering from a mental crisis."

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