The Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Bill

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A few days ago, the Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Bill, was signed by Governor Christie. The bill will provide around the clock (24/7) services to at-risk students by individuals trained in identifying mental health issues. Colleges will now be required to provide  notice to students of these services no later than 15 days before the start of the semester. Below are some of the statistics noted in the article:

“Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth between the ages of 10 to 24 in New Jersey according to the 2015 Youth Suicide Report, issued by the New Jersey Department of Children and families.”

There were 265 suicide deaths in that age group in New Jersey from 2012-2014, the report stated. The study also noted that New Jersey’s suicide rate has been well below the national average since 1990.

When I worked in college counseling centers, I began to see how students reacted when they were placed in a new environment, with more demands and less social support. It was essential that they learn strategies for coping with new stressors and know that support was available for them.   Much of our efforts were aimed at identification, psycho-education and prevention throughout the campus. Some direct interventions occurred late at night with more than one crisis counselor intervening. There were always times when we needed more resources (manpower) especially around exams and during holiday seasons.  College is not an easy transition. With the initiation of this bill, college students in New Jersey will have the support they need, when they need it.

This is a strong move by the Holleran family, who remain focused on providing help to other students in need. Thank you Holleran family for all of your efforts in seeing  this bill to fruition.  I hope that students have the courage to advocate for the help that is available to them now.

Dr. John E. Macri, Ph.D. is a clinical and sport psychologist.  He maintains a practice in Ridgewood, NJ, New Jersey Clinical and Sport Psychology. A significant portion of his training is geared towards intervention and education across late adolescence and early adulthood.  He is available for individual and group consultation for mental health issues as well as sport and performance psychology.  He can be reached at 201-445-3306 or