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caption: Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs Director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos speaking at an unveiling ceremony in Olympia on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The department debuted a new sticker for license plates that feature a suicide hotline.
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Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs Director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos speaking at an unveiling ceremony in Olympia on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. The department debuted a new sticker for license plates that feature a suicide hotline.
Credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Suicide prevention awareness sticker now on sale for WA license plates


It’s not a personalized license plate exactly, but there is now a new way for Washington drivers to add an extra message to their vehicle tags, and it’s for an important cause.

Washington state's Department of Licensing will now sell you a special add-on for your vehicle license plate. It’s an emblem to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. The narrow sticker displays the 988 crisis lifeline number with the tagline, "There is hope!"

Iraq War veteran Jason Jarman, who has previously dealt with PTSD and suicidal thoughts, said he owes his life to the crisis hotline. Jarman delivered an emotional speech that ended with a standing ovation from the audience at an unveiling ceremony in Olympia for the new license plate emblem.

"This is genius having it on the plate," Jarman said. "I mean, everybody sees it on the plates. I will have it on both of my vehicles. That is for sure.”

The new emblem costs $18. Money from the sale of the stickers will pay for suicide prevention programs geared toward veterans and military members. The emblem can be added to any vehicle license plate type.

According to Washington state's Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans account for 18% of suicides while only adding up to 7% of the state's population.

WDVA Director Alfie Alvarado-Ramos notes that "220 veterans die by suicide every year in this state. What we are unable to account for is how many lives were saved as a result of our collective efforts."

The new license plate emblem was authorized by the state Legislature as part of a larger package of measures to prevent suicide among veterans and military members. Democratic state Rep. Tina Orwall of Des Moines, a social worker by training, was the prime sponsor of the legislation, which passed last March.

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