As a practicing pediatrician, I am grateful that the Legislature is concerned about helping prevent youth suicide. However, a bill such as HB 87 threatens to be more of a "feel good" bill than one that can actually help.2 comments on this story
This bill would require primary care physicians to take extra continuing medical education on suicide prevention each licensing cycle. Unfortunately, this bill does not give doctors the tools they need to actually prevent suicides. My continuing medical education training has emphasized that strong family support, good mental health access, focus on vulnerable populations and safer gun laws are essential for good mental health for youth. Failure to expand Medicaid increases the risk of suicide. Failure to reform criminal justice (give more resources to drug courts, keep parents out of prison for nonviolent infractions, etc.) increases the risk of suicide. Failure to ensure good mental health coverage (because my required continuing medical education teaches me that counseling is needed in addition to medication for many youth) increases the risk of suicide. Failure to support vulnerable youth such as our LGBTQ population increases the risk of suicide. Failure to pass appropriate gun laws increases the risk of suicide.
Until it was overruled in 2017, Florida had a gag law on doctors that prevented them from asking about safe gun storage. You reap what you sow. So don't give me a law that makes it so I am required to keep learning how legislation is failing to prevent suicide. Give me legislation that actually makes a difference.
Salt Lake City