ALLENDALE, N.J. -- What happened to former Allendale track and soccer star Madison Holleran won't happen to anyone else ever again if a group of dedicated advocates — including state Sen. Kevin O’Toole — have their way.
More than two years after her suicide, O'Toole sprearheaded the "Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act," approved by the state Senate on Monday.
If the measure is also OK'd by the state Assembly, it goes to Gov. Christie to sign into law.
The legislation provides students with resources that will attempt to reduce suicides on college campuses.
It provides trained mental health professionals around the clock remotely or on campuses to help students in crisis, said O'Toole (R-Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic).
Emails containing information on the resources must be sent to students no later than 15 days into each semester.
Holleran, a 19-year-old Northern Highlands Regional High School track standout, was battling depression while attending the University of Pennsylvania — where she double-majored and ran track — when she leaped to her death from the top of a parking garage in Philadelphia’s Center City on Jan. 17, 2014.
Suicide has become the second-leading cause of death on college campuses and accounts for more deaths among college students than all medical illnesses combined, O’Toole noted.
He and his fellow District 40 legislators created the bill with the help of Madison’s parents, Jim and Stacy Holleran, who established the Madison Holleran Foundation to help students suffering from depression and may be contemplating suicide.
“It’s great that we were able to come together as a senate to support our students, especially the ones that might be dealing with internal struggles,” O’Toole said.
“We need to reach these young men and women and tell them they are not alone," he said. "This legislation will ensure our college students will always have someone to lean on in their darkest hours."
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