State Senate Approves Assemblymember Levine’s Suicide Prevention Legislation

August 16, 2014 · 20 comments

With a 30-1 vote, the California State Senate approved AB 2198 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to assure that psychologists, therapists, social workers, and counselors are trained to assess, treat, and refer suicidal individuals.

“This legislation will save lives,” said Levine. “AB 2198 is based on the recommendations of experts in suicide prevention. When mental health professionals are trained to detect and treat suicidal patients and clients, they will be better prepared to deal with these difficult situations. This bill will reduce the number of suicides in California.”

Over the last decade suicide rates in California have increased. In 2012, the most recent year in which data is available, there were nearly 4,000 suicide deaths — the highest number in the previous 20 years. Among Californians age 10-65, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death.

“AB 2198 will make the difference between life and death for some patients. In this case, time is not money, it is lives,” said Craig Lomax, a parent advocate for suicide prevention. “We cannot afford to wait for these professions to gradually admit to insufficient training and make adjustments.”

Almost 45% of those who die by suicide have seen a mental health professional in the year prior to their deaths, with about 20 percent having seen such a professional in the month prior to their deaths.

“By creating standards for suicide prevention training for specified mental health professionals, we can ensure that these mental health professionals (who provide services to individuals living with mental illness) are in a position to identify and address potential signs that the patient is at risk of death by suicide,” said Jessica Cruz, MPA/HS, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Health California.

Other states have enacted similar laws. Washington and Kentucky have passed similar legislation. AB 2198 will apply to psychologists, marriage and family therapists, education psychologists, clinical social workers, and clinical counselors. The “National Strategy for Suicide Prevention” recommends this type of training.

1 Ven Xeter August 16, 2014 at 8:34 PM

As Junkyard Willie Robinson would have said “You should have done this a little sooner”.

Good to see our elected officials doing something practical as opposed to the ludicrous net under the Golden Gate Bridge.

2 old concord August 16, 2014 at 9:13 PM

You want to help people that are depressed and suicidal ? Start by helping people cope with stress . Medical marijuana does that .

3 news checker August 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Trying to locate this info posted on google, but can only find articles dating back to May… Any links I can open to see this? Eager to share info such as this online.

4 Maria August 17, 2014 at 2:38 AM

Start in the home…a happy person will not think of suicide

5 RunDogRun August 17, 2014 at 6:47 AM

“Almost 45% of those who die by suicide have seen a mental health professional in the year prior to their deaths…”

Stunning evidence that mental health
professionals are driving almost half
of their depressed patients to commit
suicide.

6 lawabidingcitizen August 17, 2014 at 6:56 AM

Why does this come AFTER Robin Williams death…

How will this help if people dont see doctors or dont show they are suicidal?

7 How about.. August 17, 2014 at 7:17 AM

..stop talking about suicide in the news. Every time suicide gets a mention, it is being glorified and makes it that much easier for others to follow suit. From Robin Williams, to the attempted suicide at Oakhurst, to this new legislation..silence really is the best policy IMO.

8 So the government now August 17, 2014 at 9:28 AM

controls suicides. Like everything else the government gets into it will cost way to much money and do much good. Look at how well they are managing water. More taxes and increased costs for water. Less water and more punishment, tattletale on your neighbors.

9 Crazy August 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I agree heavily with number 2…

I come home every night and think about tying a bag around my head.. Literally. It’s a daily struggle just to live. Why struggle when I can rest in peace. Marijuana makes all that go away. Instead of grabbing that bag, I grab a joint.

No I don’t want to see a therapist instead. An oz of weed will last a few weeks and costs about $120… ONE 2 hour session of therapy costs around $100 with my insurance. Personally I’d prefer to just get stoned and talk to myself about my problems, then pay to tell someone else my problems.

10 ...... August 17, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Cause the govt can only react. They are not proactive unless they find something to do that supports their re-election efforts.

They always take the easy way out.

But hey, you elected the idiots in this state.

11 Ven Xeter August 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM

How surprising to see the potheads come out with their usual nonsense on a serious topic like this. I guess pot smoking should be mandatory since it is such a wonder drug that treats every malady known to man. More drugs are the LAST thing someone suffering mental illness needs. Counselors need the tools and training to teach their clients the power of positive thinking. Drugs, alcohol, etc are a crutch for weak minded people unable to confront life head on. Whatever temporary relief offered is quickly outweighed by the long term consequences of not addressing the underlying issue.

12 SKS August 17, 2014 at 10:56 AM

And the fiscal impact or cost to an individual for training is…..?

More licensing fees?

Costs passed on to patients???

13 biggus thinkus August 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

everyone needs to know depression isn’t just a “mental” thing that people can get better over. its a horrible disease that not only crushes the livelihood of those afflicted, but those of the family.
please get more cops to understand whats going on so they can help the person get treatment, not a chest full of lead.
i have too many people i know that have depression.
it sucks. i honestly wouldn’t wish it on my enemy (which thankfully, i have very few).

14 koko August 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Curing sadness with a pill is not the answer. People need to put down their phones, stop texting and taking selfies and acknowledge the human next to you with a smile. Hug someone today

15 Ven Xeter August 17, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Thank you Koko for the common sense ( which isn’t so common these days). For those growing up in the 80’s we lived by the saying “Hugs are better than drugs”. Today’s generation has a lot to learn.

16 Carnac the Magnificent August 17, 2014 at 1:53 PM

I’m not saying the legislation is not a good idea but there are 38,332,521 people (estimated) in California and we write special legislation for under 4000 of them?

Since the leading cause of accidental deaths in America is by traffic accidents (42,000 nationwide), If you really want to save people’s lives write legislation that requires breath ignition locks on all vehicles and governs the maximum speed of all vehicles to 75 MPH.

17 Anon August 17, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Carnac,
Actually, according to the CDC, in 2011(which are the latest figures available),
39,518 people died by suicide
33,783 people died in motor vehicle accidents
Both numbers are way too high and we should do everything we can to reduce them.
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

18 Kaiser Sosa August 17, 2014 at 5:50 PM

@11 Ven Xeter August 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Funny … I dont recall huge suicide
statistics coming out of the “Summer
of Love.”

19 Random Task August 18, 2014 at 7:08 AM

wow the dems must have thousands of legislation waiting for the right time to be thrown at wall …seems funny just a few days after a high profile person dies legislation is pushed through …so scare tactics are the norm I see …the dems have taken a fire and forget approach to being politicians. hang out kiss butt and when the dem run news starts a story slap the legislation train in motion …….wow way to feed off of emotion ……..just like criminals do…….

20 Advocate August 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Random Task, Law Abiding Citizen, etc.

This bill was crafted long before Robin Williams’ death. In fact, advocates unsuccessfully brought a similar bill forward 6 years ago. And this version has been wending its way through the system for several months.

To become licensed, therapists must have received training in aging, substance use, ethics and spousal and child abuse. Once licensed, they must take 36 hours of continuing education every two years to renew them. This adds suicide to the list. The State doesn’t pay for the training; the therapists do.

More knowledge never hurt anyone; too little could.

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