(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel advanced on Thursday legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) to require continuing medical education requirements for pediatricians include courses on suicide prevention.
According to the Center for Disease Control, A nationwide survey of youth in grades 9-12 in public and private schools in the United States (U.S.) found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.
“Suicide is more common than we are aware of and a harsh reality for many,” Lampitt said. “Many children and adults suffer in silence with these thoughts and never share with anyone until it is too late. Doctors are trained to see the changes, notice the signs and differences in their patients. With suicide prevention training, we can help doctors save more lives.”
The bill, known as ‘the Child and Family Suicide Prevention Act,” requires the State Board of Medical Examiners to include educational programs or topics related to suicide prevention in the continuing medical education requirements for physicians who are pediatricians and physicians who regularly provide pediatric care services.
Currently, all physicians and podiatrists are required to complete a requisite number of continuing medical education credits as part of the biennial registration process.
Under the bill, pediatricians would be required to attend courses concerning suicide prevention in addition to completing any other continuing medical education requirements generally applicable to physicians. The bill does not require the Board to increase or revise the requisite number of continuing medical education credits required for pediatricians or any other professional.
“We can help families stay physically and emotionally healthy by ensuring that our physicians are capable of diagnosing the signs of distress that may lead to a person taking their own lives,” continued Lampitt. “This is a proactive measure that equips doctors to effectively help New Jersey’s children and families.”
The measure was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee.