Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1131.17. Youth behavioral health program.

(a) As of October 1, 2012, there is established within the Department, and shall be made available to all child development facilities, public schools, and public charter schools, a program that, at a minimum, provides participants with the tools needed to:

(1) Identify students who may have unmet behavioral health needs;

(2) Refer identified students to appropriate services for behavioral health screenings and behavioral health assessments; and

(3) Recognize the warning signs and risk factors for youth suicide and implement best practices for suicide prevention, suicide intervention, and suicide postvention.

(b)(1) Starting October 1, 2016, completion of the program shall be mandatory once every 2 years for all:

(A) Teachers in public schools and public charter schools;

(B) Principals in public schools and public charter schools; and

(C) Staff employed by child development facilities, who are subject to training or continuing education requirements pursuant to licensing regulations.

(2) In addition to the individuals described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Mayor may determine through rulemaking other individuals who shall be required to complete the program.

(3) The Department may make the program available to other interested individuals.

(c) The Department shall keep a record of all participants who complete the program and shall provide the participants with written proof of completion.

(d) If so approved by the Office of the State Superintendent for Education, the program may count towards professional development credits.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the term:

(1) "Suicide intervention" means specific actions schools can take in response to student suicidal behavior, including:

(A) Student supervision;

(B) Notification of parents or guardians;

(C) Crisis-response protocols;

(D) When and how to request an immediate mental health assessment or emergency services; and

(E) School re-entry procedures following a student mental health crisis.

(2) "Suicide postvention" means planned support and interventions schools can implement after a suicide attempt or suicide death of a member of the school community that are designed to:

(A) Reduce the risk of suicide contagion;

(B) Provide support for affected students and school-based personnel;

(C) Address the social stigma associated with suicide; and

(D) Disseminate factual information about suicide.

(3) "Suicide prevention" means specific actions schools can take to recognize and reduce suicidal behavior, including:

(A) Identifying risk and protective factors for suicide and suicide warning signs;

(B) Establishing a process by which students are referred to a behavioral health provider for help;

(C) Making available school-based and community-based mental health supports;

(D) Providing the location of available online and community suicide prevention resources, including local crisis centers and hotlines; and

(E) Adopting policies and protocols regarding suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, school safety, and crisis response.