SG proposes adding Suicide Prevention Lifeline number to student IDs

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Holly Ainsworth, center, speaks about putting the number for the Suicide Lifeline on student IDs during a Student Government meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. The current student ID contains contact information for the UT Police Department and the Behavior Concerns Advice Line.

Photo Credit: Lauren Barrero | Daily Texan Staff

UT student government proposed adding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to student IDs at its meeting Tuesday.

The current student ID design includes the UT Police Department phone number, information on how to return lost IDs and the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL), which students can use to report any concerning behavior, according to the BCAL website. The suicide lifeline can provide confidential support 24/7 for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, according to the hotline website. 

Nursing school representative Holly Ainsworth authored the resolution and said this proposal would add the lifeline to the back of all new student IDs. She said she started working with the ID center to see if the design could include the number on all new student IDs.

“Considering the prevalence of mental illness in college students, this would be a good addition,” nursing junior Ainsworth said. “We should provide people with as many resources as possible and let them know those resources are there, even after the (Counseling and Mental Health Center) is done for the day.” 

If the resolution passes, Aisnworth said incoming freshmen and students replacing their IDs would receive the
new design.

“As a nursing major, we’re told to survey if people are suicidal, and one of the questions we ask is if someone is going through a major change,” Ainsworth said. “(Many students) are moving (to the University), and that itself is a
major change.” 

Jakob Lucas, speaker of the assembly, said his experience on the student advisory committee for the CMHC informed his decision to co-sponsor the resolution. He said the initial resolution only shows support for the idea, but the committee and amendment processes could add implementation strategies.

“Mental health is really important to me,” government senior Lucas said. “The intentions of this legislation are in the right place. I’m interested to see how in committee, and through the amendment process, it can be developed more to include implementation.”  

University-wide representative Kerry Mackenzie said she also co-sponsored the resolution because she dedicated part of her platform to mental health, and this could help fulfill it. 

“When I saw this bill, I couldn’t believe we didn’t already have this,” said Mackenzie, a government and plan II sophomore. “We have the BCAL number where we can report other students, but we can’t reach out for ourselves. It’s just crazy that no one (has) already done this.”