Bill by Senator Linda Newell Aims to Decrease Suicide Rate in Colorado
DENVER─ Today, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed House Bill 1140 sponsored by Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton). This legislation aims to lower the suicide rate by encouraging hospitals to educate patients and relatives of patients who have attempted suicide about prevention before they leave the facility. Statistics show that those who have previously made an attempt at suicide are at the highest risk of future attempts.
Senator Newell offered the following comment on the committee passage of House Bill 1140 today:
“Suicide is a heartbreaking occurrence that can be averted if we start educating ourselves about risk factors and prevention methods. By getting information about suicide into the hands of family and friends we can reach the people in the best position to stop it from occurring.”
Colorado law designates the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) as the coordinator for suicide prevention programs throughout the state. This legislation will direct the Office of Suicide Prevention within the department to encourage the hospitals and treatment facilities that it licenses to provide suicide prevention information to help keep suicide attempts from happening again.
House Bill 1140 also requires the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to include recommendations for suicide prevention in its annual report. In addition, the department will be permitted to work with hospitals and other treatment facilities to identify gaps in existing suicide prevention programs by investigating proper treatment referral processes, on current available treatment resources and on distributed information and materials.
Colorado has the sixth highest rate of suicide in the nation, and it is the second leading cause of death among young people. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimates that more than 9,000 Coloradans contemplate suicide every year and that more than two thirds of these individuals aren’t being treated.
This legislation will now head to the full Senate for consideration.