Washington’s legislature passed the most ambitious suicide prevention law of any state across the country today, March 6. ESHB 2315 requires that all doctors and nurses in the state are trained in the skills needed to prevent lives lost to suicide, and creates a phone consultation line for front-line providers caring for patients of concern. This is on top of the two laws already passed in Washington in 2012 and 2013 to better equip mental health professionals and schools in the prevention of suicide. To use sports lingo, it’s a Hat Trick and a rare occurrence to have three legislative successes so quickly.
Our success is the result of two key ingredients: 1) leaders who stood up and said it is time to have the prevention conversation across Washington and, 2) the spirit of collaboration, activism and passion around this cause. We are especially, indebted to Representative Tina Orwall (Des Moines) who spent many nights worried about the fate of this historic bill and to advocates who traveled to Olympia to meet with legislators.
We at Forefront look forward to partnering across the state in the implementation of these new laws. Herein lies the opportunity to lead the nation in meeting the Healthy People 2020 goal to dramatically reduce the number of deaths by suicide.
The final step for advocates is to email Gov, Inslee and tell him how important this piece of legislation is for the families of Washington State and that the heart of this bill is the training component. We’ll celebrate in Olympia when the governor signs the bill! Sign up for our Facebook page to find out when and where the party will be held. – By Jennifer Stuber, PhD