Harrisburg – October 17, 2018 – Legislation that would support suicide prevention and mental health services at institutions of higher education in Pennsylvania today passed the state Senate and is headed to the governor’s desk, according to the bill’s author Representative Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh).
“It’s vitally important that we take the correct steps to help ensure mental health problems are addressed before a student is found contemplating suicide. A supportive community and the correct treatment can be the difference in helping a student stay on track toward success and it can save lives,” Schlossberg said.
Schlossberg’s legislation (H.B. 1822) would establish a certification process and standards for those schools which elect to become a Certified Suicide Prevention Institution of Higher Education. Through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, institutions would be recognized for their commitment to providing students with information and services to meet their mental health needs and to assist in the event a student experiences a mental health crisis. The proposal was initiated as a result of a study initiated by Senator Vincent Hughes, (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) after multiple suicides at the University of Pennsylvania.
“As we become aware of mental health concerns, it is important we support and maintain initiatives such as this,” Senator Hughes said. “This is a great start in promoting mental health in a positive way and putting students in a position to navigate difficult times. Many thanks to Rep. Schlossberg and supporters in the House and Senate who came together to support this bill.”
“Mental health counseling was essential in helping me to deal with my own experiences with depression and anxiety when I was attending college,” Schlossberg said. “By making sure that students know which services and support are available to them, colleges and universities are able to demonstrate their commitment to their students and they should be recognized for doing so.
“Working in a bipartisan way with my Republican colleague Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill, we were able to garner support from many of our colleagues in both parties and from the House and Senate, because this issue is critical to the success of our next generation of leaders.”
Schlossberg said Gov. Tom Wolf has indicated he will sign the bill into law.