Forefront honors Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn (47th District), for his contributions to suicide prevention at the state legislative level on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at its fourth annual suicide awareness dinner, A Place for Everyone.
The event begins at 6:30 with a sit-down dinner, drinks and live music.
Registration is required for the free public event in the University of Washington’s HUB Grand Ballroom. Funds raised support Forefront’s suicide prevention cause.
Special recognition also will be given to Rep. Brian Blake (D, 19th district) for his work in suicide prevention. And House Speaker Frank Chopp, D, 43rd District) with receive Forefront’s inaugural Legislator Award.
Forefront’s Legislator Award honors the critical role policymakers play to address the public health issue of suicide. As a result of cumulative bills passed in the Legislature, Washington leads the nation in suicide prevention policy – including requiring health care professionals, teachers, and schools to receive suicide recognition and referral training.
“Speaker Chopp has won the support of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and fought to ensure that suicide prevention priorities were protected in budget negotiations,” said Lauren Davis, Forefront’s senior policy analyst and director of campus programs. “He has performed Herculean miracles to resurrect critical suicide prevention bills. Suicide loss and attempt survivors across the state are indebted to him for his visionary leadership and commitment.”
Indeed, bipartisan collaboration has been critical to making systemic changes: Blake co-sponsored the Safe Homes Bill, HB 2793, which builds innovative suicide prevention partnerships with pharmacists and firearm dealers, and Fain introduced a companion bill, SB 6603.
“Washington state legislators have been incredibly proactive about preventing suicide in our communities,” said Forefront Executive Director Jennifer Stuber. “Our advisory board wanted to recognize legislators who are going the extra mile. It is hard to choose. Suicide prevention is a big public health issue in our state, and receiving strong bipartisan support.”
Amnon Shoenfeld, former director of the King County Mental Health, will present the Legislator Award. He serves as the co-chair of the Forefront Advisory Board and the chair of the legislative sub-committee.
Speakers will include mental health advocate Brandon Hadi (UW ’16 alum), Washington’s First Lady Trudi Inslee, and radio talk show host Bill Radke. Each will make brief remarks about the roles they play in suicide prevention and efforts to make Washington a model suicide-safer state. Tracy Taylor of KING5-TV and Entertainment Correspondent Scott Carty will emcee.
Forefront’s dinner will also acknowledge four other award winners who have made an impact on the suicide prevention movements:
• Micia Vergara (Emerging Leader Award)
• Kate Comtois (Sue Eastgard Training Excellence Award)
• Debbie Reisert (Tina Orwall Public Service Award)
KIRO 7 (Excellence in Coverage of Mental Health and Suicide) also will be acknowledged for its series of story segments by Michelle Millman, Deborah Horne, and Monique Ming Laven
A social impact organization housed in the UW School of Social Work since 2013, Forefront worked for the historic passage of six pieces of legislation – forging Washington’s path as the first state in the nation to require suicide prevention training for mental health professionals, doctors, nurses, teachers, and schools. Most recently, Forefront has helped pass the Suicide Safer Homes bill and worked with 14 King County high schools to create a comprehensive road map for suicide prevention in schools. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, Forefront trained approximately 2,000 individuals and provided Forefront Cares support to 156 newly bereft individuals.