Well, #SPSM, things happen. Like, sometimes your regularly scheduled chat line-up changes…and you find yourself unexpectedly in the middle of suicide prevention legislation goings on…And then, you go from moderator to guest.
Tonight 9pm CST, at #SPSM chat moderated by the incomparable Dr. Ursula Whiteside, I (@DocForeman) will be one of our guest “experts” discussing recent events in the Louisiana State Legislature. Basically 3 weeks ago, I was having warm duck salad at Mansur’s with some great ladies and things “happened.” One thing led to another, and on Tuesday afternoon, I will be at the Louisiana State Capital discussing SB539.
What is SB539, you ask? Well, basically Senator Ben Nevers thought it would be in the public interest of Louisiana to make a law mandating that mental health professionals get six hours of suicide risk assessment and management training every six years. This legislation is based on a law passed in Washington State: The Matt Adler Suicide Assessment, Treatment and Management Act of 2012. This movement to require that health care professionals receive specific training in screening, referring, and treating people at risk of suicide has gained momentum; and in Washington, new legislation expanding the Matt Adler act is being proposed this year.
In Louisiana, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. More folks in Louisiana die from suicide than traffic accidents. It’s such a serious health concern that *public school teachers* are required to have suicide prevention training…But, interestingly, not mental health professionals. In fact, this is a current problem in most U.S. states. Washington State had some time to build awareness and coalition before the ground breaking Matt Adler Act was passed in 2012…But this go around we only had 3 weeks, from the first idea to beginning hearings about it (which will start Tuesday afternoon).
What does this have to do with social media? I’m glad you asked! Tonight’s chat will focus on questions such as how social media has been or can be used to support the legislative process for issues pertinent to suicide prevention.
Behavioral health scientist Ursula Whiteside, PhD, tonight’s moderator, joined Group Health Research Institute as a Research Fellow in 2010 with a life-long passion for understanding the intricacies of human behavior and experience in both applied research and therapeutic mental health counseling. Her focus is studying and treating substance misuse and mental health problems and developing behavior-change interventions—especially simple, effective, and inexpensive interventions for primary care.
@DocForeman (talking about myself in the 3rd person today) is a Licensed Psychologist serving Veterans as a Suicide Prevention Coordinator at her local VA. She is passionate about helping relieve pain…1 person, 1 problem, 1 minute at a time if she has to (and she aspires to be more effective than that when she can). She does this through her clinical work, advocacy for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, and though innovations at the intersection of emerging technology and mental health.
The Tweets for this chat will be archived on Storify.