By MARINA STARLEAF RIKER
HONOLULU (AP) - State lawmakers are poised to make Hawaii one of a handful of states that allow psychologists to prescribe medication in hopes of increasing access to mental health services.
The Hawaii bill would allow psychologists to prescribe medication if they undergo special training. It sets requirements including 400 hours of training, supervision of 100 patients and passing an exam created by the American Psychological Association.
Supporters say the Hawaii bill will increase access to mental health care in rural areas, but opponents say it could seriously hurt those with mental illness.
The Hawaii Department of Health says more Hawaii residents died by suicide than in car accidents between 2010 and 2014.
So far, New Mexico, Louisiana and Illinois allow certain psychologists prescription privileges.