The Bulletin Board

Bill requiring suicide prevention helpline on all student ID cards supported by House committee

By: - April 26, 2022 5:48 pm

Martha and Paul Dickey of Boscawen lost their son Jason to suicide in 2017. On Tuesday, they watched as lawmakers put his name on a bill that would require student IDs to have the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (Screenshot)

When Rep. Melissa Litchfield prepared to record votes on Senate Bill 234 Tuesday, she warned her fellow House Education Committee members she might struggle. 

“I’m shaking,” said Litchfield, a Brentwood Republican. “I’m going to have trouble calling it without crying.”

The bill would require schools to put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on all student ID cards. In a last-minute move, the entire committee sponsored an amendment renaming the bill the Jason Dickey Suicide Prevention Act, in memory of Dickey, who died by suicide in 2017. Dickey’s parents were there for the vote.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend the full House pass the bill as amended.

“We’d just like to say thank you to all of you for considering this, and we’re humbled and honored,” Martha Dickey told the committee. “And if Jason could hear it, he would absolutely feel the same way. I’m sure. He was very … politically oriented, and he would be so humbled by something like this.”

The bill passed the Senate in February and is almost certain to clear the House. Gov. Chris Sununu has said he will sign it. 

The hotline can be reached by calling or texting 1-800-273-8255. In July, the number will change to 988.

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Annmarie Timmins
Annmarie Timmins

Senior reporter Annmarie Timmins is a New Hampshire native who covered state government, courts, and social justice issues for the Concord Monitor for 25 years. During her time with the Monitor, she won a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism and mental health courts at Harvard for a year. She has taught journalism at the University of New Hampshire and writing at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Email: [email protected]