Danielsen Co-Sponsor Of Law Aimed At Curbing College Student Suicides

Danielsen swearing in11

State Assemblyman Joe Danielsen was a prime sponsor of a recently enacted bill that aims to curb college students’ suicide.

A bill that aims to help prevent college student suicides was signed into law earlier this week.

The bill, known as the “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act,” was co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17), as well as Assembly members Joseph Lagana, Tom Goblin and Raj Mukherji.

Holleran, a track star at Northern Highlands` Regional High School in Allendale, committed suicide in January 2014 while enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania.

“This isn’t a concern that takes time off, so neither should the services we need to prevent more tragedies,” Danielsen said in a release about the bill. “This is a caring approach designed to provide young people with the proper care.”

According to the 2013 Youth Suicide Report issued by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for New Jersey youth ages 10-24. The most recent data for 2010-2012 shows that of the 233 youth suicides in New Jersey, 72 percent were committed by young adults ages 19-24.

“We could not ignore this deeply concerning plague,” Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic) said in the release. “With this simple step, we can hopefully help quell this trend and get young people the help they need. We cannot stand idle and accept this status quo.”

“We needed to do more,” Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic) said in the release. “We’ve lost too many young people already. We needed to put a focus on reducing student suicides and attempted suicides. This new law does that.”

“Ensuring students are aware of mental health services offered on campus early on can save lives,” Mukherji (D-Hudson) said in the release. “Students must know they are not alone and help is just a call or maybe a few steps away. If more suicides can be prevented, more lives saved with this small requirement of our colleges and universities, it is worth it.”

The new law requires an institution of higher education to have individuals with training and experience in mental health issues who focus on reducing student suicides and attempted suicides available on campus or remotely by telephone or other means for students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The individuals will also work with faculty and staff on ways to recognize the warning signs and risk factors associated with student suicide.

Under the new law, no later than 15 days following the beginning of each semester, an institution must transmit to each student via electronic mail the contact information of the individuals.

The bill was approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee on June 2 and by the full Assembly on June 16, 77-0.


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