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Did You Mean Suicide Risk?

07/13/2017

Washington State will require chemical dependency professionals to undergo training, not in suicide risk assessment, but in suicide assessment. In yet another display of bureaucratic incompetence and contempt for the English language the Department of Health has rejected my plea for calling a spade a spade. (See email below.)

I hope the state does not want its chemical dependency professionals to evaluate the quality of execution of suicides. This might require assessment of rapidity of death, amount of mess left behind, legality of the method, amount of suffering and other parameters too grizzly to contemplate. What does constitute a good suicide vs. a bad one? Will DOH publish standards for suicides? Would it not make more sense to require anyone contemplating suicide to take one of these courses?

"The Department of Health (department) has adopted amendments to the chemical dependency professional certification (CDP) continuing education requirements for suicide assessment in WAC 246-811-280 (WSR 17-13-083). The adopted rule requires CDPs to complete training in suicide assessment, including screening and referral, from the department's approved model list of trainings. This rule will become effective July 17, 2017.

"The department received one comment not in full support of the rule during the public comment period. The commenter had concerns with the terminology “suicide assessment” and “suicide training” being misinterpreted and causing confusion. The commenter thought medical professionals should diagnose and treat, not control behavior, and that competent adults should have a right to choose when to die. This is a general comment on how medical professionals should treat suicidal patients. RCW 18.205.020 permits CDPs to assist alcohol- or drug-addicted people to develop and maintain abstinence. It does not include treatment of suicidal patients. CDPs do not have the training or experience necessary to treat suicidal patients. The department did not change the proposed rule as a result of this comment.

"Any person may petition the adoption or amendment of these rules in accordance with RCW 34.05.330.

"For more information, please review the Current Topics section of the CDP Certification webpage.

"Thanks,

"Brad

"Brad Burnham

"Program Manager

"Office of Health Professions

"Washington State Department of Health

"111 Israel Road SE, Tumwater, WA 98501

"PO Box 47852 Olympia, WA  98504-7852

"(360) 236-4912

"brad.burnham@doh.wa.gov"