Key Provisions for Suicide Prevention in Omnibus Bill
December 23, 2022 • Legislation
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Dec. 23, 2022) – On Friday, Congress approved an omnibus appropriations bill, which upon President Biden’s signature will avoid a government shutdown and provide funding to federal programming including ENA priorities. This legislation includes key provisions related to preventing suicide, which remains a leading cause of death in the United States. ENA has been a leading voice advocating for new programs to improve the identification and treatment of at-risk patients in emergency departments.
The included language will require the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to identify best practices for improving the identification, assessment, treatment and timely transition to follow-up care for individuals in emergency departments who are at risk for suicide. It also alters the existing adult suicide prevention program to allow grant funds to be used to raise awareness of suicide prevention resources and to encourage those at risk to seek assistance.
“ENA has long supported the importance of suicide prevention in EDs,” said ENA President Jennifer Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC. “This is a huge step forward in helping EDs better screen and identify at-risk individuals to connect them with follow-up care and resources.”
Statistics show approximately 11 percent of ED patients present with suicidal ideation. ENA research published in a 2018 study determined improvements were needed to better identify at-risk patients in the emergency department. The study concluded that enhanced suicide-risk assessment should include screening tools that are used continuously during a patient’s visit.
The Emergency Nurses Association has previously supported the Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives on May 13, 2021.