Friday, July 26, 2013

Report on Implementing HB1140: Suicide Prevention Resources in Hospitals

Each year, approximately 827 Coloradans die by suicide and approximately 2,700 are hospitalized for suicide attempts. Research shows that a previous suicide attempt is one of the most powerful predictors of subsequent fatal suicidal behavior, particularly in the first six months to a year after the attempt.

To address Colorado’s suicide problem, and to provide more comprehensive suicide prevention and intervention information and resources after a suicide attempt, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 2012-1140. This bill tasked Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), as coordinator for suicide prevention programs throughout the state, to include collaboration with licensed or certified hospitals in the provision of suicide prevention services. CDPHE recently assessed the implementation of this amended statute. The goals of the House Bill 1140 assessment were to:
  1. gain a better understanding of hospital protocol and procedures at discharge for individuals hospitalized for a suicide attempt or gesture, 
  2. identify barriers encountered by hospitals in providing a suicidal person or the parents or guardian of a suicidal minor with information about after care and suicide prevention resources prior to his/her release from the hospital following a suicide attempt or gesture, 
  3. learn more about suicide prevention training needs for hospital staff, 
  4. learn whether or not hospitals provide information related to means restriction and/or the safe storage of suicidal means, and\
  5. evaluate the use of the educational materials provided by the Office of Suicide Prevention.
One finding related to assessment goal 4 found that only about one-quarter of hospital staff provide information to families on the importance of restricting access to lethal means by suicidal persons. 

CDPHE will include findings from this gaps assessment, as well as recommendations to improve suicide prevention services though hospitals in Colorado, as part of the Office of Suicide Prevention annual report to the Legislature.