Every healthcare worker in Washington is required to undergo suicide prevention training. That includes nurses, dentists and even chiropractors. Now, University of Washington researchers have developed an interactive, online training program called All Patients Safe.
The program teaches medical providers to recognize possible warning signs of suicide in their patients. It also trains them how to educate patients about keeping their homes safe. An example; how to safely store guns or prescription drugs.
Jennifer Stuber is the faculty director with Forefront Suicide Prevention at the UW. She says healthcare providers are on the front lines of prevention.
"We know that a lot of people who die by suicide, they don't ever get to see a mental health provider. But they do go see their doctor - their primary care doctor," Stuber says. "We know roughly half of people who died by suicide saw their doctor in the month leading up to their death. And that makes sense, because primary care is where we're treating the bulk of depression care in our country."
In 2016, 1,123 people in Washington died by suicide. It’s second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 24 in the state.
Washington is first in the country to require suicide prevention training for all healthcare providers. The law took effect on July 1.
The online training is free to all medical providers affiliated with UW Physicians practice group and Children's University Medical Group.
The national suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
Correction 12/4/2017, 11:15 a.m.: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the date the law took effect. It is July 1, 2017. Also, the online training is free to all medical providers affiliated with the UW Physicians practice group and Children's University Medical Group.