Policy & Advocacy

The Safer Homes Memorial in front of the Washington State Capitol, displaying the toll of suicide losses in 2015. Color-coded mock headstones represent suicide deaths by different lethal means.

Forefront Suicide Prevention’s Safer Homes Memorial Display, above, was installed in Olympia on the Legislative Campus during the 2017 session. The mock headstones represent suicide’s one-year toll in Washington state.

The power to save lives through state policy change is yours

Suicide is the most preventable cause of death. The steps we take to spread this message – and build it into systems and communities – can lessen its toll.

In 2012, Forefront Prevention Intervention’s legislative work placed Washington state first in the nation to require suicide prevention training for all behavioral health providers with the landmark Matt Adler Act. Health care professionals, dentists, pharmacists and firearm retailers have helped collaborate on these efforts. More recently two bills passed in 2016 and 2017 establishing the Safer Homes, Suicide Aware campaign.  In all, six suicide prevention bills have passed in the last five years. Each piece of legislation builds on the others, creating informed education for professionals and others, healthy conversation, and systems change, directed at preventing suicide.

Forefront Suicide Prevention’s greatest fortune is its partnership with Rep. Tina Orwall, District 33. Orwall and Forefront bring together and collaborate with diverse partners. This coalition building takes hard work and often brings success. Many meetings, conference calls, emails to legislators, and other examples of constituent advocacy go into each suicide prevention bill.

Policy change needs with people like you. If you are interested in supporting Forefront’s legislative work, please contact us.

“I am very proud of Forefront Suicide Prevention and the Higher Education Community for partnering together and coming up with critical next steps on how to support students and prevent suicide on our campuses throughout the state. This approach puts student safety first and begins to identify the resources and best practices needed to prevent suicide on all our higher education institutions.” – Rep. Tina Orwall


For the Washington State 2018 Legislative Regular Session, Forefront Suicide Prevention advocates for the bills listed below:

  • House Bill 2513 | Senate Bill 6514 – Concerning suicide prevention and behavioral health in higher education, with enhanced services to student veterans.
  • House Bill 1047 – Protecting the public’s health by creating a system for safe and secure collection and disposal of unwanted medications.
  • House Bill 2496Senate Bill 6141 – Strengthening school district plans for recognition, screening, and response to emotional or behavioral distress in students.
  • House Bill 2617 – Improving the behavioral health of people in the agricultural industry.

Please contact your state representatives and senators in support of these bills. Visit the WA State District Finder to locate your representatives contact information.


Implementing a Suicide-Safer Homes public education platform: Establishing a public-private partnership fund to implement the work of the Safer-Homes task force.

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Providing for suicide awareness and prevention education for safer homes.

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Creating a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education. As a result of this law, the Task Force on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Higher Education gathered data about suicide prevention efforts and the amount of suicidal behavior on campuses, preparatory to recommending more comprehensive ways to keep students safer from suicide.

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Ensures that all suicide prevention training for health care professionals will cover issues specific to military veterans, and skills to assess suicidal individuals' access to lethal means.

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Concerning training health care professionals in suicide assessment, management and treatment. Extended the HB 2366 training requirement to include mandated suicide prevention training for health care professionals.

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Increasing the capacity of school districts to recognize and respond to youth at-risk for suicide, and to build awareness for students who may be struggling with mental health issues that may lead to attempted suicide.

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Washington State passed ESHB 2366, otherwise known as the Matt Adler Suicide Assessment, Treatment, and Management Act of 2012. ESHB 2366 is the first law in the nation to require certain health professionals to obtain continuing education in the assessment, treatment, and management of suicide risk as a requirement of licensure.

Read Final Bill Report