The Bulletin Board

New NH law requires National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to be included on student ID cards

By: - August 3, 2022 2:54 pm

Gov. Chris Sununu signed legislation Wednesday requiring school IDs to include the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Behind him are Martha and Paul Dickey, whose son died by suicide. (Courtesy)

Student ID cards for sixth graders up to college students must now include the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, under a law signed by Gov. Chris Sununu Wednesday. There is no requirement, however, that the cards also include the state’s crisis line, which may be a better option for those in New Hampshire with out-of-state area codes. 

Senate Bill 234, named for Jason Dickey, a Merrimack Valley High School graduate, passed the Legislature easily. Anyone who calls 988 (or 1-800-273-8255) will be routed to the crisis center closest to their area code, not their physical location. 

Callers will find immediate help. But if they want to quickly reach New Hampshire’s crisis center, which can deploy a crisis team to a person immediately, the state advises they call the state’s hotline directly, at 1-833-710-6477.

People looking for help in the state can also dial or text the New Hampshire line, and the website also has a chat function. 

The state launched its hotline in January, nearly six months before the national 988 line went live, to provide people in the state immediate help that matched their needs, whether it be someone to talk with, help making a counseling appointment, or deployment of the mobile crisis response team. 

The law applies to public and charter schools and public and private universities and colleges that issue student IDs. The number must appear on ID cards beginning in sixth grade.

“If this bill helps save one life, it’s worth it,” Sununu said on Twitter after signing it. “Every student and family should have equal opportunity to access lifesaving services. … This bill moves us forward. New Hampshire is tackling our mental health challenges, and we are adding more and more investments every day.”

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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]