(COLUMBUS, Ohio) -- Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that he is partnering with the national Jason Foundation in an effort to help Ohioans identify and assist youth who are at-risk of taking their own lives.
Attorney General DeWine made the announcement this morning during a news conference with Ohio Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Independence).
The Jason Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to prevent youth suicide across the United States. The goal of the new partnership is to bring awareness to the public health problem of youth suicide.
"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 Attorney General DeWine. "By increasing awareness on the signs and symptoms that could precede a suicide attempt we hope to save precious lives."
Representative Anielski was instrumental in the passage of Ohio's Jason Flatt Act, in honor of Joseph Anielski, which requires youth suicide awareness and prevention training in Ohio's schools. The 2013-2014 year will be the first full school year in which all Ohio school employees, including teachers, nurses, and counselors will receive this training.
Representative Anielski also worked to designate September 10th as Ohio Suicide Prevention Day.
"Our most precious gifts, our children, at times need us to step in and give them immediate assistance," said Rep. Anielski. "Reviewing the free online training or DVDs help 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. Suicide is preventable!"
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.
“We are excited that Attorney General DeWine is partnering with the Jason Foundation as part of our Attorneys General Program,” said Jason Foundation President Clark Flatt. “His passion and dedication to help youth in Ohio and across the country will help save lives.”
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.
While serving in the U.S. Senate, Attorney General DeWine was instrumental in drafting, negotiating, and passing the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which provided funding for the treatment and prevention of mental health and behavioral health problems that could lead to suicide. He also sponsored America's Law Enforcement and Mental Health Project Act, which allotted funding for mental health courts between 2001 and 2004, and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, which provided funding to ensure that people with mental illnesses who are released from prison are provided with appropriate medications and connected to community-based service providers.
More information on identifying at-risk youth and preventing youth suicide can be found on the Jason Foundation's website: www.jasonfoundation.com.
Dan Tierney: 614-466-3840
Jill Del Greco: 614-466-3840