ENA-backed Suicide Screenings Legislation Passes House

May 14, 2021 Advocacy Suicide

The Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act will improve suicide risk protocols

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (May 14, 2021) – As the Emergency Nurses Association finished its Day off the Hill advocacy event, the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the ENA-supported Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act.

The bill focuses on improving the ability of health care professionals working in hospital emergency departments to identify, assess and treat patients with signs of suicidality.

“The timing of this bill couldn’t be more perfect. Our members work hard to advocate for important legislation such as this and it’s exciting to see one of our priorities pass the same week ENA hosted its annual advocacy event,” said ENA President Ron Kraus, MSN, RN, EMT, CEN, ACNS-BC, TCRN. “Emergency nurses see many patients for both physical and mental health issues. With the help of this legislation, we can further support and treat those who may be in danger of harming themselves.”

H.R. 1324 would amend the Public Health Service Act to improve the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in emergency departments who are at risk of suicide. The funding provided by this bill would help emergency departments to:

  • Train health care professionals to identify, assess and treat patients at risk of suicide.
  • Establish policies and best practices for emergency departments to better identify, assess and treat patients at risk of suicide.
  • Develop optimal procedures to properly discharge patients from the emergency department.
  • Hire emergency department-specific behavioral health professionals.
  • Implement follow-up care and long-term treatment for individuals at risk of suicide.

ENA thanks Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., for his leadership in introducing and securing House passage of this important legislation. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

ENA urges emergency nurses to contact their senators to request support for this important bill.

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.