Preventing Suicides by Texting

On Wednesday, legislation was heard in the Health and Human Services Budget Division to fund the statewide expansion of a text message service that connects people with crisis counselors, provides emergency information, and makes referrals to local resources within the community. The program is one new way to get people help when they need it. By simply texting a number, people are given access to the resources and counseling they need.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 to 24. As more and more young people choose to text to communicate, using text messaging services can provide low-cost methods for people to receive direct intervention for help in times of crisis. The funding would include training in schools and communities to raise awareness of this potentially life-saving program.

The bill would provide $1.5 million in both Fiscal Year 2016 and 2017 to the Commissioner of Human Services to expand the program, and would be an ongoing appropriation. The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus Health and Human Services budget bill.  (S.F. 1152)

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