State Senate passes suicide-prevention training bill

State Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines. - COURTESY PHOTO
State Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

The Senate on Thursday in Olympia unanimously passed House Bill 2315, which requires certain health professionals in Washington state to complete six hours of training in suicide assessment, treatment, and management as part of their education requirements.

When it is signed into law, the measure will become the third prong in the suicide-prevention call for action started in 2011 by Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines.

“We know that with early interventions suicide can often be prevented," Orwall said in a media release. "In a person’s darkest hour, when they have the courage to reach out for help, they will get the help they need and deserve. This bill is about saving lives.”

The legislation expands the list of professionals who must complete suicide-prevention training to include chiropractors, naturopaths, osteopathic physicians and assistants, physical therapists and assistants, physicians and nurses.

Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, sponsored an identical measure in the state Senate and has supported Orwall’s House bill since it was introduced.

“There are some things in state government that can wait another year, and there are some things that need to be dealt with immediately," he said. "This is an issue that we must address right now, while we still have the opportunity. Suicide prevention, particularly for our brave service men and women who often deal with underlying post-traumatic stress disorder issues after returning from deployment, should be one of our top priorities and this bill is an excellent step in that direction.”

House Bill 2315 now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

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