Wednesday (2/22), Tom Freeman will be driving down to Olympia (along with THC Families) for the committee hearing, and will be leaving The Healing Center at 6:45 AM. If you would like to attend the hearing in Olympia, and if you would like to carpool, let Tom know so arrangements may be made. Tom can be reached at email@example.com, or (206) 523-1206 ext. 12.
For More information about Matt and Jenn’s Story click here.
Jenn Stuber’s letter to Healing Center Families affected by suicide:
Dear Friends at the Healing Center,
A hearing for SHB 2366 has been scheduled before the Health & Long-Term Care Committee of the Washington State Senate for next Wednesday, 2/22 at 8AM. I understand it is not an ideal time, but I am writing to ask whether you might consider joining a caravan of survivors of suicide death traveling to Olympia. The bill requires that health and mental health professionals receive training in the assessment, treatment and management of suicide risk. Many professionals do not have adequate training and greater competence in and comfort with suicide can reduce unnecessary deaths.
You would probably not be testifying as the hearing time is very short (2 hours) and there are a total of five bills that the committee is reviewing that morning. But we need people to attend the hearing, to sign in (in support of the bill) and to carry a sign in the hearing room that reads, “In memory of _______________. I am asking for your support of SHB 2366 or something like that. I would provide the signs; you would fill in the name of your loved one.
PLEASE let me know ASAP whether you can come to Olympia as part of this important effort and I will prepare a sign for you and send directions to the hearing. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cannot, please write your senator and express your support for the legislation. How to do that (along with a sample communication) is indicated below.
Simple steps to writing your state Senator:
1. Go to http://www.leg.wa.gov/
2. Click on ‘Find Your Legislator’ on the top left menu bar
3. Type in your name and address, your Senator will pop up
4. Click on that Senator’s name and then his/ her email address
5. Enter your name, address, whether you care to receive a response from your senator and the bill number SHB2366
As a survivor of suicide death, I am writing to urge your support for SHB 2366. I know all too well that suicide is a major public health problem. In the State of Washington in 2009 there were 915 suicide deaths – nearly five times the number of homicides and twice as many deaths as were attributed to motor vehicle accidents. And in 2009 there were also 3,707 admissions to Washington State hospitals as a result of suicidal behavior.
The costs associated with suicide are staggering – billions are lost in future earnings and billions are spent in hospitalizations and emergency room visits. These figures don’t even begin to touch the personal costs for schools, organizations, communities and families when these tragedies occur. It is critical that our health and mental health professionals receive adequate training to appropriately assess, treat and manage this behavior.
Unfortunately many are inadequately trained – or not trained at all. All health and mental health professionals currently have standards regarding the number of hours that are required for license of their renewal; this legislation does not alter that amount. It simply requires the practitioner to receive a specified number of those hours in the assessment, treatment and management of suicide risk. The general public assumes that health care professionals have the skills to help a person who is suicidal, but the fact is that we can’t count on this. By supporting this legislation you are helping to save lives.