New Jersey's 40th Legislative District

Senator Kevin O'Toole

Senator Kevin O'Toole

O’Toole’s “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” Clears Committee

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Kevin O’Toole (R-Bergen) to prevent suicide on college campuses has cleared the Senate Higher Education Committee. The “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” is named for the Bergen County native, who committed suicide while attending the University of Pennsylvania.

Sen. Kevin O’Toole sponsors legislation in honor of Madison Holleran to prevent suicide on college campuses. (In Memory of Madison Holleran/Facebook)

“We cannot erase the pain and heartbreak of losing a young loved one to suicide, but we can fight harder to ensure students who are struggling do not have to bear that weight alone,” Senator O’Toole said. “No one, especially our youth, should be forced to suffer in silence. Raising awareness and ensuring students in crises have access to support 24 hours a day will save countless young lives for years to come.”

Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students, accounting for more fatalities than all medical illnesses combined. In New Jersey, 72 percent of youth suicides were committed by college-aged young adults, according to the most recent data available.

The “Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act” (S-557) calls for health care professionals, with training in mental health and reducing suicides, to be available around the clock remotely or on college campuses to assist students in crises. Students must receive information about these resources via electronic mail, no later than 15 days following the beginning of each semester.

Senator O’Toole and fellow District 40 legislators introduced a version of the act during the last legislative session. The bill did not advance in the Assembly before the end of the session in January of 2016.

“I will continue to advocate for this legislation until all New Jersey college students have access to these vital resources,” Senator O’Toole added. “I urge Democrat leaders not to waste another moment, and finally advance this lifesaving legislation.”

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