The Department of Health strongly recommends providers share educational materials regarding the nationwide 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which also includes a Veterans Crisis Line option, to patients currently or formerly affiliated with the military.
Beginning July 1, 2023, the Department of Health (DOH) encourages all providers, including dental providers, to ask patients at new patient encounters whether the patient has been or is currently affiliated with the military. If the patient is currently or has been affiliated with the military, the DOH strongly recommends providers share educational materials developed by the DOH regarding the nationwide 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which also includes a Veterans Crisis Line option.
This encouragement from the DOH is based on legislation passed during the 2022 legislative session, which required the DOH to create educational materials informing licensed health care providers about the 988 Crisis Hotline and encouraging providers to pass along the information to patients when appropriate.
How to Use the Educational Materials
When a new patient is entering care, the DOH encourages providers to perform the following steps:
- Ask the patient, “Have you or a family member ever served in the armed forces?”
- If they answer yes, provide the patient with pages 6-8 of the materials.
- If you suspect the patient may be at risk for suicide, use the resources on page 4 of the materials to provide appropriate screening and treatment for the at-risk patient.
For any questions regarding the new law or educational materials on suicide prevention in the military community, please contact Codie Garza, Suicide Prevention Program Manager with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lonnie Peterson, 988 Crisis Systems Manager with the DOH at email@example.com.