Summaries of Oregon Suicide Prevention Laws
Oregon has made legislative strides to work on better Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention. Below are summaries of suicide related legislation organized by year that the legislation was enacted. Alliance members past and present were key advocates for each piece of legislation. To watch current legislative hearings, see video recordings, and submitted testimony of past sessions, visit the Oregon State Legislature website.
Note: Bills introduced in the Senate are labeled as SB; Bills introduced in the House of Representatives labeled as HB.
2014 Legislative Session
Establishes the Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Coordinator in the Oregon Health Authority
This bill establishes a Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Coordinator at the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). This Coordinator will:
• Facilitate the development of a Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Plan (YSIPP). The YSIPP is a statewide plan to address both youth and young adult suicide and self-inflicted injury as well as develop strategies for intervention with youth who are suicidal, depressed, and at a higher risk of attempting suicide and self-injury
• Improve outreach to communities that are at risk for suicide and self-inflicted injury
• Identify barriers to accessing intervention services for youth and young adults who are suicidal, depressed, and at-risk
• Provide technical assistance to state and local partners and coordinate interagency efforts to establish youth and young adult suicide and self-inflicted injury prevention and intervention strategies
• The coordinator will review data and prepare an annual report for the Legislative Assembly on specific data points indicated by this legislation
The YSIPP will be updated at least every five years and these updates should at a minimum include the following:
• An assessment of current access to mental health intervention, treatment, and support for depressed or suicidal youth
• Recommendations to improve access to mental health intervention, treatment, and support for depressed or suicidal youth
• Recommendations for best practices to identify and intervene with youth who are depressed, suicidal, or at -risk for self-injury
• Recommendations for collaboration among schools, school-based health clinics and coordinated care organizations (CCOs) for school-based screening for depression and risk of suicide or self-injury among middle and high school students
• Recommendations related to the use of social media and the internet to provide opportunities for intervention and prevention of youth suicide and self-injury
• Recommendations regarding services and strategies to respond to schools and communities following a completed youth suicide
• Identification of intervention and prevention strategies used by other states with the five lowest rates of youth suicide and self-injury
• A comparison of Oregon’s youth suicide and self-injury rates with other states
2015 Legislative Session
Specifies entities to be involved in development of plan. Requires local mental health authority to inform Oregon Health Authority within seven days after suicide death of individual 24 years of age or younger. Requires Oregon Health Authority to serve as resource to local authority as needed by community.
This bill requires hospitals to have publicly available discharge policies in place for those who have been hospitalized for mental health treatment.
Discharge policy must:
• Offer patients opportunity to identify a Lay Caregiver and encourage patients to sign a Release of Information (ROI) for Lay Caregiver
• Conduct both a risk and needs assessment for patient care
• Coordinate care transition to outpatient
• Complete a follow up call within 7 days of discharge
• Review information and instructions with patient and Lay Caregiver
• Notify Lay Caregiver of discharge or transfer before it happens
More information on this can be found on DIY Advocacy Center’s website
This act clarifies when, what, and how Protected Health Information (PHI) can be released without authorization from a patient or their representative. All released information must be the minimum necessary to provide care. Any provider who releases information under these standards is not subject to civil liability.
Generally, information can be released without authorization:
• To persons identified by the patient as being directly involved in patient care
• If the patient isn’t present or gaining authorization isn’t practical and Release of Information (ROI) is deemed important by the provider
• If the patient is present and does not object to the ROI
• If an ROI is necessary to prevent or lesson a serious threat to an individual or society
Under professional discretion, provider may also be able to release the following information when necessary:
• Patient diagnosis and treatment plan
• Safety concerns around risk for suicide, including safety plans
• Community resources
• How to safely transition a patient to higher or lower level of care
More information on this can be found on DIY Advocacy Center’s website
2017 Legislative Session
Directs Professional Boards to Report Completion of Continuing Education Units on Suicide Risk Assessment, Management, and Treatment to the Oregon Health Authority
This bill requires professional behavioral health and healthcare licensing boards (see bill for complete list of boards) to adopt rules that require those licensed within the board to report completed continuing education units (CEUs) that train on suicide risk assessment, management, and treatment.
The professional licensing boards must document the following information:
• The number of licensees who complete certain CEUs
• The percentage of the total of all licensees who complete CEUs
• The counties that CEUs were completed in
• Any contact information the licensee is okay with sharing
Professional licensing boards report this information along with any initiatives to to promote suicide risk assessment, treatment, and management to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) who provides the gathered information to the Legislative Assembly.
A list of courses is listed on OHA’s website.
What Emergency Departments are Required to do with Patients seen for a Mental Health Crisis and their Families
This bill requires hospitals with emergency departments to adopt and implement policies for those who discharge after being seen for a behavioral health crisis. Information about the adoption and implementation of policies will be sent to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).
At a minimum, policies should include the following:
• Encouraging the patient to sign a Release of Information (ROI) and designate a lay caregiver
• A requirement for behavioral health assessments to be completed
• A requirement to assess long-term needs of patients that include at least the following: the patient’s need for community based services, their capacity for self-care, and the extent that the patient can be adequately cared for where they live at the time they presented at the emergency department
• A process to deliberately coordinate patient’s care that includes one or more of the following: notification to the primary care provider, a referral to other providers like peer support, follow-up with the patient after they are released from the emergency department, or a creation and transmission of a plan of care with the patient and other provider
• A case management process that includes an assessment of the patient’s medical, functional and psycho-social needs. This may include an inventory of resources and supports that are recommended by a behavioral health clinician that were indicated by an assessment and agreed upon by the patient
• A process for caring contacts to be completed between the patient and a provider or follow-up services so the patient is able to successfully transition to outpatient services. Caring contacts may be facilitated through contracts with a qualified community-based behavioral health provider or through a suicide prevention hotline; these may be conducted in person, through tele-medicine, or by phone; if possible, these must be attempted within 48 hours of release if a behavioral health clinician determined the patient attempted suicide or experienced suicidal ideation
• A process to schedule a follow-up appointment with a clinician within seven calendar days that the patient is released from the emergency department. If this is not able to be done within seven days, the hospital must document why
More information on this can be found on DIY Advocacy Center’s website
Expands the Scope of Emergency Services covered by Group Health Insurance Policies to cover Specified Behavioral Health Services
This bill requires specified facilities to provide case management and care coordination of behavioral health services and for these to be covered by both commercial health insurance plans and the Oregon Health Plan.
At a minimum, Care Coordination and Case Management must include:
• A risk assessment with safety plans and lethal means counseling if appropriate
• A determination of the patient’s clinical needs and recommendations for medically appropriate care
• Follow-up through Caring Contacts
• Recommendations to the patient, lay caregiver, and healthcare provider as well as information on how to access services
• An explanation of what crisis stabilization planning and patient centered care looks like
• Identifying a point person to provide care coordination
• Creation of a plan for transitioning care with the patient and lay caregiver that is provided to the patient’s healthcare provider and care team
More information on this can be found on DIY Advocacy Center’s website.
2019 Legislative Session
Requires School Districts to Adopt Policies Requiring a Comprehensive District Plan on Student Suicide Prevention
This bill requires each school district to adopt a policy that requires a comprehensive district plan on student suicide prevention for students in grades K – 12.
These plans must include the following elements:
• Procedures that relate to suicide prevention, intervention, and activities that reduce risk of suicide attempts and promote healing after a death by suicide
• Identification of school personnel that are responsible for responding to reports of suicidal risk
• A procedure that someone can request a school district to review the actions that a school takes when responding to suicidal risk
• Methods to address the needs of groups at a higher risk of suicide attempts. These groups at a higher risk include youth who are grieving a death by suicide; youth with disabilities, mental health diagnoses, or substance use disorders; youth experiencing houselessness or out-of-home settings like foster care; and lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, or other minority gender identities and sexual orientation
• A description and materials for any trainings that will be provided to school employees. These trainings must include: when and how to refer youth and their families to appropriate mental health services; programs that can be completed through self-review of suitable suicide prevention materials; and any other requirement that is made by the State Board of Education through rules that have been based on consultations with subject matter expert organizations
• School districts may consult with other organizations or community members when developing these plans
• Plans must be written to ensure that school employees only act within their credentials or licenses
• Plans must be made available yearly to the community the school district is in and must be readily available at both the school district office and on their website
Directs Oregon Health Authority to Collaborate with Certain Schools when Developing Communication Plans following a Suspected Suicide
This bill requires that the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will create a communication plan with local mental health authorities (LMHAs) and local systems to improve notifications and information-sharing when a suspected death by suicide of young adults 24 years of age or younger.
Communication plans must address community suicide responses and postvention efforts to address loss and the potential of contagion.
OHA will work with the following groups in developing and implementing the plan:
• Public school districts
• Public universities
• Private post-secondary education institutions
• Any facility that provides services or resources to runaway or houseless youth
Within seven days of a suspected death by suicide of a young adult 24 years of age or younger happens, the LMHA in the area and any public school district, public university, or private post-secondary institution of education the young adult was attending at the time of their death will notify OHA of actions taken to support local entities and individuals that were affected by the death and to prevent the risk of contagion.
OHA will serve as a resource to LMHAs and any public school district, public university, or private post-secondary institution of education the young adult was attending at the time of their death
This bill amends HB 4124 by adding the following elements.
Youth Suicide Intervention and Prevention Advisory Committee is created to advise the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on the development and administration of strategies to address suicide intervention and prevention for youth and young adults age 10 – 24.
The Director of OHA will appoint members of the advisory committee and provide staffing to support the members and committee.
The Director will ensure that this committee membership reflects the cultural, linguistic, geographic, and economic diversity of the state and membership must include at a mimimum:
• Suicide attempt survivors
• Loss survivors (those who have lost friends or family members to suicide)
• People younger than 21 years-of-age
• Representatives of state agencies. A list of example agencies can be found in the bill text
• Representatives of Oregon Indian Tribes
• Representatives of colleges and universities
• Medical and behavioral treatment providers
• Representatives of hospitals and health systems
• Representatives of coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and private insurers
• Suicide prevention specialists
• Representatives of members of the military and their families
Committee members that are not employed in full-time public service may be compensated for their services and may be reimbursed by OHA for their actual and necessary expenses that are accrued in their duties.
This full committee must meet at least once every three months.
The committee may recommend potential members for membership appointment.
The advisory committee will consult with the YSIPP Coordinator on updates to the YSIPP.
The YSIPP Coordinator will add recommendations for both administrative and legislative changes to address service gaps in youth suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention activities to their annual report to the Legislature
Directs Local Mental Health Authorities Communication Regarding Suspected Deaths by Suicide for those 24 Years of Age or Younger
SB 561 is amended to include the following information.
If a local mental health authority (LMHA) receives a third-party notification of a suspected death by suicide of those 24 years of age or younger, the LMHA will notify the following local systems that had contact with the individual as appropriate:
• The principal or superintendent of the educational institution the individual attended
• The juvenile department
• Community developmental disabilities programs
• Local child welfare agencies
• Local substance use disorder programs, or
• Any other organization or person that was identified by the LMHA as necessary to receive notice to preserve public health
Notifications must contain the following information to allow the local systems to implement effective postvention efforts:
• The name of the individual that died by suicide
• The birth date of the individual that died by suicide
• The date of death of the individual that died by suicide
• Any other information that the LMHA determines is necessary to preserve public health and is not otherwise protected from public disclosure by state or federal law