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Suicide prevention training in schools expected to increase

Supporters of a new law in Ohio aimed at helping to reduce the number of suicides expect that the number of school employees who will be trained to watch for signs in students will increase signficiantly now that the new school year is underway. 

The Jason Flatt Act (House Bill 543) took effect earlier this year, just prior to the end of the last school year, and mandates that public schools in Ohio train their staff to better recognize students who may be at risk of hurting themselves.

Rep. Marlene Anielski sponsored the Jason Flatt Act in honor of her son Joseph, who died by suicide three years ago. Anielski also worked to put locked mailboxes in schools where students can deposit anonymous notes alerting administrators to students who might be at risk.

“Having blinders on and not talking about it does not help anyone,” Anielski said in an interview with the Sun News of Ohio.

“We must do something to help our youth who are suffering from this epidemic in silence,” said Rep. Marlene Anielski, a Republican from Independence and a driving force behind the legislation. The bill is named, in part, for her late son.

“Empowering our dedicated professionals, working with our children, to recognize the signs and symptoms of students who may be at risk, is an important step to stop this epidemic,” she said. “Education and awareness can help reduce the stigma often associated with depression. It will enable our youth to seek help and discuss their feelings before it is too late and they make the wrong decision.“

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