A college suicide prevention bill in memory of College student Madison Holleran has unanimously passed in the New Jersey state Senate.
Holleran, a Bergen County, New Jersey native, was a freshman and a runner on the track team when she committed suicide in Center City on Jan. 17, 2014. Her death received national media attention.
The Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act requires mental health professionals to be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to assist students in crisis at colleges and universities in New Jersey. The bill also includes provisions for informing students about these resources at least 15 days before each semester.
N.J. Senator Kevin O’Toole (District 40), who sponsored the bill, announced that it had passed on Monday. According to a press release from his office, 72 percent of youth suicides in New Jersey were committed by college-age young adults. Nationwide, it is the second most common cause of death for college students, according to the American Psychological Association.
Even though the New Jersey bill won’t affect Penn, the death of Holleran and nine other students at Penn in the last three years have prompted Penn’s administration to take action. A mental health task force was formed to improve mental health resources and student accessibility. So far, a 24/7 help line has been established, and the “Thrive at Penn” module, which covers wellness, alcohol, drugs and sexual violence, has been made mandatory for all freshmen and upperclassmen.
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