OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate unanimously a bill that would promote a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention and behavior health at colleges. It would also enhance services to help students who are veterans.
Lawmakers said the bill is a result of a task force on mental health and suicide prevention in higher education. It was created by lawmakers in 2015 and identified four recommendations to increase awareness and prevention of suicide.
“This bill is going to go a long way towards helping our veterans and students on our college campuses,” said Senator Sharon Brown, who introduced the bill. “It was shocking what happened recently with the suicide death on the WSU-Pullman campus of a star student athlete.”
The bill would require the Department of Health to collaborate with the Student Achievement Council to develop a statewide resource for behavioral health and suicide prevention for the state’s postsecondary institutions. It would also create a grant program to help colleges to create partnerships with health-care entities to provide mental-health services on campus. It also requires the state Institute for Public Policy to do a study on academic stress in college settings.