August 11, 2022
The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Applauding the signing of AB 1394 (Irwin) - General acute care hospitals: suicide screening
Dear Governor Newsom,
The listed organizations are a part of the State Policy and Partnership Roundtable within Delta Center California, a collective that seeks to advance behavioral health and primary care integration policy and practice in the state. The State Roundtable is writing to applaud your signature of Assembly Bill (AB) 1394 (Irwin), a vital piece of legislation to provide support to Californians at risk of suicide by establishing suicide screening policies and procedures. This bill would require a general acute care hospital to establish and adopt written policies and procedures to screen patients who are 12 years of age and older for purposes of detecting a risk for suicidal ideation and behavior.
According to the California Department of Public Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults ages 15-24 in California, with the most recent data showing that Californians ages 10-18 saw a 20 percent increase in suicide rates in 2020. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry found that patients who received an intervention following a screening had 30% fewer total suicide attempts than patients that didn’t receive intervention. This legislation is a crucial step to expand a proven suicide prevention strategy and provide timely help to struggling Californians across the state.
The listed organizations of the Delta Center California State Roundtable believe that this life-saving legislation is a key part of addressing the mental health crisis exacerbated by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. We commend Assemblymember Irwin and Governor Newsom for taking action to meet this crisis with the tangible solutions it demands.
California Alliance of Child and Family Services
California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies (CBHA)
California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS)