Ohio officials are highlighting a new state law requiring schools to train teachers and staff on youth suicide prevention.
The Jason Flatt Act, sponsored by Rep. Marlene Anielski and in honor of Joseph Anielski, requires youth suicide awareness and prevention training in Ohio’s schools. The 2013-2014 school is the first year in which all Ohio school employees, including teachers, nurses and counselors will receive training.
The Jason Foundation is providing free training materials to Ohio schools. The Hendersonville, Tenn.- based non-profit organization works to prevent youth suicide across the United States. About 600 Ohio educators have completed its training. The Jason Foundation was founded after the suicide death of 16-year-old Jason Flatt in 1997. Since then, the Jason Foundation has become a recognized leader in youth suicide awareness and prevention.
“Protecting Ohio’s children from the depression and sadness that can lead to suicidal thoughts has been a top priority dating back to my time in the U.S. Senate,” said DeWine. “By increasing awareness on the signs and symptoms that could precede a suicide attempt we hope to save precious lives.”
Rep. Anielski also worked to designate September 10th as Ohio Suicide Prevention Day.
“Our most precious gifts, our children, at times need us step in and give them immediate assistance,” said Anielski. “Reviewing free online training or DVD helps the adults at school to recognize the signs of a child emotionally struggling. The proper guidance can be given, so a tragedy does not happen.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death among Ohio youth aged 15-24 years. The CDC’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey found that:
- More than one out of four of Ohio’s youth (27.1%) reported experiencing the feeling of hopelessness and sadness for a constant period of two weeks or more.
- Nearly one out of seven of Ohio’s youth (14.3%) had seriously considered suicide.
- Nearly one out of seven of Ohio’s youth (14.5%) had made a plan to commit suicide.
- More than one out of 11 of Ohio’s youth (9.1%) attempted suicide.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.