Suicide Prevention Training Bill Passes State Senate

Earlier this week Ellis E. Conklin wrote about House Bill 2315, a legislative effort championed by Rep. Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines) to require six hours of suicide prevention training for our state’s doctors, nurses and other primary healthcare providers. The bill had already passed the House, but faced a challenge in the Senate, with the Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) and the Washington State Psychiatric Association (WSPA) both aiming, via an army of lobbyists, to squash the bill.

For folks like Jennifer Stuber, then, who Conklin featured in his piece and who has been fighting for suicide prevention training for health care providers since her husband committed suicide in 2011, this morning’s news will be greeted with applause: The Senate passed HB 2315 49-0, with the next step for the bill being Jay Inslee’s desk being a return to the House. Since it was amended to require the six hours of training only once - and not every four years - the House must sign off on it once again before it heads to Jay Inslee's desk.

“We are only asking for six hours,” Orwall told Conklin, noting that 60 percent of those who take their own lives have seen their primary physician within 30 days of their suicide. “As far as how effective it is, if we can save one life from just six hours of training out of 400 hours, why wouldn’t we do that?”

You can read Conklin’s full story here.

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