An information board at Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area in Dauphin County (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller).
Two Bucks County lawmakers have introduced a bill that they hope will help prevent suicides at Pennsylvania’s parks and forests.
State Reps. Kristin Marcell and Kathleen “KC” Tomlinson, both Republicans, have cosponsored legislation requiring suicide prevention information, including 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline information, to be posted at state parks and forest facilities across the Commonwealth.
“… We hope more awareness can help save lives,” Marcell said.
Since 2010, 164 suicides have occurred in Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests, she added. “If there is even a small chance this action will result in a person choosing not to end his or her life, it is clearly a step worth taking.”
House Bill 1705 would require the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which oversees Pennsylvania’s 124 state parks and 20 forest districts, to prominently post information about the crisis line and suicide awareness in all state parks and forests throughout the Commonwealth.
The lawmakers said that they were called to action after 21-year-old Lindsey Piccone died by suicide at Tyler State Park in Bucks County in 2016.
“We have come a long way in developing resources to assist those who are contemplating suicide,” Tomlinson said. “Studies show that when people think twice about suicide by receiving a text or a call or seeing a sign, the chances of them changing their mind increase. In honor of Lindsey, we need to show people that hope and help are available.”
The bill was referred to the House Human Services Committee where it currently awaits a vote.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or at risk, support is available 24/7 by calling or texting 988.
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