Working to transform the child welfare system.

HB 1221: Improving crisis planning in schools to prevent youth suicide

Bill outlines the daunting problem of youth depression, anxiety, and suicide and the growing numbers, nationally and locally, of adolescents struggling with mental health issues.  It then notes that school-based approaches may assist with the high levels of un-met needs.

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, school district staff who have knowledge or a reasonable suspicion that a student has expressed desire to end their life or otherwise harm themselves must disclose the knowledge or reasonable suspicion to either: 

 (1) the student’s parent or guardian; or 

 (2) the school nurse, school counselor, school social worker, or school psychologist, who must then contact the student’s parent or guardian. 

Furthermore, all Educational Service Districts (ESDs) must provide behavioral health coordination (outlined in the bill) to all school districts in its region.  ESDs also must consult with Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington for best practices, training, and technical assistance.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) must select up to twelve high schools located east of the crest of the Cascade mountains to participate in the mental health promotion and suicide prevention program during the 2020-21 through 2021-22 school years. High schools will be selected based on high rates of suicide or attempted suicide by students. ESDs will coordinate with Forefront, who will award grants to school districts and youth advocacy organizations.  

Mental health promotion and suicide prevention program must be a capacity-building, comprehensive and sustainable approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention that allows the selected high schools to transform their climate and practices to reduce student risk for suicide. 

Each ESD also shall develop and maintain capacity to offer trainings broadly related to suicide prevention. They can offer trainings on a fee-for-service or at no cost to ESDs if funds are specifically appropriated.

Amends previous bill to require that school districts create an annual tailored plan and submit it to OSPI.