Suicide prevention training for more health-care providers passes Senate, with some changes

Staff writerMarch 6, 2014 

More health-care professionals would be required to complete training in suicide prevention under legislation passed by the Senate Thursday.

Passed unanimously out of the Senate, House Bill 2315 adds more health-care practitioners to the list of professionals required to undergo suicide assessment and prevention training, including chiropractors, registered nurses and physical therapists. Some professionals, such as marriage and family therapists, mental health counselors and psychologists, are required to complete suicide management training once every six years.

Chairwoman of the Senate Health Care Committee, Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, where the bill was heard last month, praised the bill’s merit during a floor speech Thursday morning.

It gives health-care professionals the “ability to identify and help folks before it is too late,” Becker said.

An amendment adopted on the Senate floor Thursday struck out language in the bill requiring training once every six years for professionals added under the legislation. As passed, newly applicable providers would only be required to complete the suicide management training once.

Health-care professionals currently required to undergo training would still be required to go through training every six years.

Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, stressed the importance of the legislation and the impact it would have on veterans in Washington.

“One of the highest suicide rates in the state is amongst our veterans,” Bailey said. “Anything that we can do to stop that...I think that we really need to do.”

Since the bill was amended on the Senate floor, the legislation must go back to the House for approval before going to the governor for a signature.

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