CALIFORNIA: New Law to Require Suicide Prevention Training for Psychologists

September 15, 2017
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
State:  California

Palo Alto Online

California has passed a law that will require all psychologists to receive standardized training in suicide prevention. Starting in 2020, currently licensed psychologists and those applying for a new license must complete six hours of coursework or supervised practice in suicide risk assessment and intervention. "All California psychologists, regardless of where they live and who they serve, will have training, which means it crosscuts age, institutions, and geographical areas," said Vic Ojakian, a former Palo Alto mayor and mental health advocate who lost his son to suicide. The state Board of Psychology, which supported the bill, said that it hopes the new requirement will encourage psychologists to seek ongoing education in assessing and treating suicidal patients. California is the seventh state in the country to mandate that psychologists receive training in suicide prevention. The new law does not apply to other mental health professionals, such as clinical social workers or marriage and family therapists.

Spark Extra! Read the full text of the bill.

Planning and Implementing:  Policy and Legislation, Education and Training
Strategies:  Identify and Assist, Screening and Assessment, Effective Care/Treatment