N.J. considers program to prevent youth suicide

A New Jersey Senate committee has approved a measure that would require the state to develop a youth suicide prevention plan.

The Senate Health Committee voted unanimously Monday to advance the plan that advocates say will help raise awareness about a problem that each year claims an average of 70 New Jersey residents between the ages of 10 and 24.

“We hope that we’re going to be able to get best practices from around the country,” said Sen. Jim Beach, one of the primary sponsors of the legislation.

“We hope to investigate it fully so that we can actually do more … what we’re doing isn’t a hundred percent successful is it?” he said.

About a third of the calls to suicide hotlines in New Jersey are answered by counselors outside the state. The measure would require crisis-center personnel to know about the local services that are available for callers in need of immediate help.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. It’s already been passed by the Assembly.

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