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Massachusetts lawmakers consider bill that would add suicide hotline number to school ID's

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
Jesse Costa
The Massachusetts Statehouse.

Massachusetts lawmakers held a hearing Monday on a bill that would require school ID's to include a suicide hotline phone number.

The 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline number would be mandated on student ID's issued by public schools that serve students in grades six through 12 and state-supported higher education institutions.

Karen Carreira, of Ludlow, spoke in favor of the bill. She lost her 15-year-old son to suicide five years ago.

"In the moments when I allow myself to think through what helped Nathan and what didn't help Nathan and what could I have done different, I wonder if having access to a simple three-digit number could have made all the difference," she said.

Eileen Davis also supports the legislation. She runs the biggest call center in the state for 9-8-8 calls, located in Framingham.

"The increase since the pandemic has been astounding," she said. "[An] absolutely astronomical increase in young people — honestly as young as eight years old — calling out and reaching out for help."

In a 2021 survey of Massachusetts high school students, a third reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks in a row and almost fifteen percent said they had seriously considered suicide in the past year.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.