News and Blog

  • Six Unit CE Class on Suicide Prevention Required for California Psychologists

    California became the seventh state to require psychologists to get trained in suicide prevention, assessment and interventions through the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 89, which was signed by Governor Brown on September 1, 2017.  This requirement does not go into effect until January 1, 2020, which means that psychologists renewing after that date will need to indicate that they received at least six hours of suicide prevention training, and those seeking licensure in California will need to meet this training requirement as well.  The exact wording in the bill is as follows:

    2915.4. (a) January 1, 2020, an applicant for licensure as a psychologist shall show, as part of the application, that he or she has completed a minimum of six hours of coursework or applied experience under supervision in suicide risk assessment and intervention.

     This requirement shall be met in one of the following ways:

    (1) Obtained as part of his or her qualifying graduate degree program. To satisfy this requirement, the applicant shall submit to the board a written certification from the registrar or training director of the educational institution or program from which the applicant graduated stating that the coursework required by this section is included within the institution’s curriculum required for graduation at the time the applicant graduated, or within the coursework that was completed by the applicant.

    (2) Obtained as part of his or her applied experience. Applied experience can be met in any of the following settings: practicum, internship, or formal postdoctoral placement …, or other qualifying supervised professional experience. To satisfy this requirement, the applicant shall submit to the board a written certification from the director of training for the program or primary supervisor where the qualifying experience has occurred stating that the training required by this section is included within the applied experience.

    (3) By taking a continuing education course that meets the requirements…and that qualifies as a continuing education learning activity category…. To satisfy this requirement, the applicant shall submit to the board a certification of completion.

    (b) Effective January 1, 2020, as a one-time requirement, a licensee prior to the time of his or her first renewal after the operative date of this section, or an applicant for reactivation or reinstatement to an active license status, shall have completed a minimum of six hours of coursework or applied experience under supervision in suicide risk assessment and intervention…. Proof of compliance with this section shall be certified under penalty of perjury that he or she is in compliance with this section and shall be retained for submission to the board upon request.

    The easiest way to meet this requirement is to take a continuing education class on suicide prevention so that you have documentation that you have met this requirement.  You don’t need to wait till 2020 to take this class.  In all likelihood, the legislature will require those licensed under the California Board of Behavioral Sciences – LCSWs, LMFTs, LEPs, and LPCCs – to have a similar continuing education training requirement in the coming year.  It is unclear as to why the focus for this initial legislation was just on psychologists.

    While many mental health professionals believe they know how to assess for suicidal risk, much has changed in recent years.   The old “no harm contract” has been found to be ineffective, and has been replaced with a “safety plan.” Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and 38,000 Americans take their lives by suicide every year.  An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.

    Professional Psych Seminars is offering  a six unit CE class, which meets the new requirement on suicide prevention, with Dr. Susan Marie on December 2, 2017 in Glendale, CA and January 6, 2018 in West Los Angeles. The class title is Suicide Prevention:  New Interventions That Work.  If you can’t attend the live class, it will be available online  at www.psychsem.com in January 2018.