DENVER─ Today, the Senate 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 House Bill 1140 today:
“Suicide is a serious and tragic problem in our communities and we need to be actively providing information and increasing access to treatment. We know that when someone attempts suicide they are more likely to attempt it again and so when they are being released from hospitals their families and friends should be receiving information about warning signs. I’m pleased that we were able to come together to pass this bill in a bipartisan way.”
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.
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.
This legislation now heads to the Governor for consideration.