Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee

HB 2513

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning suicide prevention and behavioral health in higher education, with enhanced services to student veterans.

Sponsors: Representatives Orwall, Holy, Kilduff, Pellicciotti, Ortiz-Self, Senn, Stambaugh, Gregerson, Reeves, Muri, McBride, Wylie, Peterson, Stanford, Pollet, Doglio and Johnson.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires the Department of Health to contract with a third party entity to create a statewide resource for behavioral health and suicide prevention in post secondary institutions that includes such things as training curriculum and model protocols.

  • Creates a grant program to fund post secondary institutions' behavioral health and suicide prevention efforts and requires that the first six grants be awarded to community and technical colleges.

  • Requires post secondary institutions to submit annual reports to the Department of Health regarding information related to behavioral health and suicide on their campuses.

Hearing Date: 1/16/18

Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).


Public secondary schools are required to have crisis plans that include suicide prevention. Post secondary institutions are not statutorily required to have suicide prevention plans, but many institutions have initiatives focused on addressing behavioral health and suicide prevention on their campuses.

In 2015 the Legislature created the Task Force on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at the Higher Education Institutions (Task Force) to determine what policies, resources, and technical assistance are needed to support the institutions in improving access to mental health services and improving suicide prevention responses. Members of the Task Force included, among others, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), the Council of Presidents, the institutions of higher education, the Independent Colleges of Washington, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Health (DOH). Forefront, an organization based at the University of Washington School of Social Work, staffed the Task Force.

At the end of 2016, the Task Force reported its findings and provided recommendations to the Legislature regarding providing resources and technical assistance to post secondary institutions. The Task Force expired July 1, 2017.

Summary of Bill:

Statewide Resource.

Subject to funds appropriated, the DOH must collaborate with the WSAC to develop a statewide resource for behavioral health and suicide prevention for the state's post secondary institutions. The DOH must contract with an entity that has suicide prevention expertise, which will be responsible for constructing and hosting the statewide resource and linking the resource to the WSAC and the DOH websites.

At a minimum, the statewide resource must:

To establish the components of the statewide resource, the DOH must convene and consult with a work group consisting of representatives from stakeholder groups the DOH deems appropriate. The DOH must consider representatives from the entities listed in the 2015 Task Force, and at a minimum the work group must include:

The statewide resource must be available to post secondary institutions by June 30, 2020.

Grant Program.

Subject to funds appropriated, the Suicide Prevention in Higher Education grant program is created to provide funding for post secondary institutions to create partnerships with health care entities providing mental health, behavioral health, and suicide prevention to students.

The WSAC must administer the grant program, in collaboration with the work group convened by the DOH. The grant program must be implemented by November 1, 2019.

The WSAC must award the first six grants to public community and technical colleges (CTC). When selecting the CTC recipients, the WSAC must consult with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. The WSAC must identify which CTCs have the greatest need along with a clear and strong demonstration of leadership willingness to utilize the statewide resources created under the act and develop partnerships to enhance capacity. From those identified CTCs, the WSAC must give priority to proposals that enhance treatment services to student veterans. Once the first six grants are awarded to CTCs, the WSAC may award grants to other post secondary institutions.

"Post secondary institutions" includes the public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education, degree-granting institutions, private vocational schools, and cosmetology and barber schools.

Data Collection.

For the purposes of establishing a baseline for behavioral health concerns and responses, post secondary institutions must submit annual reports to the DOH beginning June 1, 2019 and ending in 2022. The report must include certain information in compliance with the DOH's data collection requirements, and must indicate whether the institution does not collect or have access to the specified information.

The reports must include the following information:

The reporting requirement applies to the same institutions eligible for the grant program. The DOH must aggregate the information received by sector and serve as the depository for the annual reports. The DOH must collaborate with post secondary institutions in establishing data collection requirements and criteria.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 9, 2018.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.