Proposed bill would help victims of gun violence access mental health treatment

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — A new bill would help people who have experienced gun violence access mental health treatment by making it easier to navigate the health system. 

Senate Bill 6553 was introduced by Senator David Frockt, who represents the 46th legislative district. 

The bill would require Washington state to address what it says is a growing need for mental health care for victims of gun violence. 

It suggests doing so by providing evidence-based treatment and comprehensive information on how those victims could access treatment. 

Under the bill, the Washington State Department of Commerce would contract with a level one trauma center to provide counseling and refer victims to proper health providers who could help. 

“The legislature finds that the epidemic of gun violence has led to a corresponding increase in the number of persons experiencing gun-related trauma,” it reads in the bill. “Mental health treatment available for impacted individuals may be inadequate or inaccessible without assistance navigating the health system.” 

The bill also proposes a guide, created by the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, that would recommend prosecuting attorneys, trauma centers and more services to victims.