Utah bill for statewide suicide crisis line awaits governor’s signature

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ST. GEORGE — After passing unanimously in the both Utah Senate and then the House, a bill to create a statewide mental health crisis line now heads to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk for his signature.

The Statewide Crisis Line bill, designated as SB 37 and sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, enacts provisions related to the creation of a single statewide crisis hotline, allowing an individual to contact and interact with a qualified mental or behavioral health professional 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

On Jan. 23, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 26-0, with 3 absent or not voting.

Read more: Utah bill for statewide suicide crisis line advances with overwhelming support

Utah currently has 19 scattered crisis numbers that operate at different times, Thatcher said, noting that nine of those numbers connect to a 911 operator unqualified to handle suicide calls and that another nine of them go to push button menus.

Utah has one of the highest age-adjusted suicide rates in the U.S., according to the 2015 Utah Suicide Prevention Program Report, which notes that more people attempt suicide than are fatally injured.

On Feb. 16, Thatcher’s bill once again passed with unanimous support, this time in the House by a vote of 71-0, with 4 absent or not voting. The bill was signed by both the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate and has been enrolled.

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Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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