Now Smith's union, SEIU 1199NW, is organizing to pass Marty's Law: Make Our Work Safer. (HB 2921) Marty's Law would provide funding so clinicians can work in pairs when they are sent to evaluate a client in a private residence. The bill also requires clinicians to be provided with cell phones, prompt access to patient records, and training on violence prevention.
Marty's law is part of the Campaign for Quality Mental Health Care. A poll conducted by SEIU followign Marty Smith's death found that Washington state’s mental health system has failed to provide a safe working environment, sufficient training, or enough support to its workers.
- In the last two years, caseloads and the complexity of individual client conditions have increased.
- 75% of community mental health workers report feeling unsafe on the job.
- 78% of community mental health workers have been assaulted either verbally, physically or both; fully 22% report
- being physically assaulted in the last two years.
- 42% of community mental health workers feel they don’t have adequate backup when safety is threatened.
- 44% of community mental health workers feel they don’t have sufficient training to deal with safety issues.