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DeWine forms Youth Suicide Prevention Partnership

By Frank Lewis

August 21, 2013

Frank Lewis


PDT Staff Writer


According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death among Ohio youth-aged 15-24 years. With the advent of social media, and the use of such media for bullying, which has led to documented cases of suicide among teens, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Tuesday 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. DeWine made the announcement Tuesday 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,” DeWine said. “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 Sept. 10 as Ohio Suicide Prevention Day.


“Our most precious gifts, our children, at times need us to step in and give them immediate assistance,” Anielski said. “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.”


The CDC’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey found that:


•More than one out of four of Ohio’s youth (27.1 percent) 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 percent) had seriously considered suicide.


•Nearly one out of seven of Ohio’s youth (14.5 percent) had made a plan to commit suicide.


•More than one out of 11 of Ohio’s youth (9.1 percent) attempted suicide.


According to a 10TV story in January, David Petee, of London, Ohio, said that his 11-year-old daughter, Hailey, took her own life because she just no longer could deal with the bullying she encountered.


“She would cry every day coming home from the bus stop, every day she was crying, she didn’t want to get on the bus,” Melinda Groce, Hailey’s mother, said.


“We are excited that Attorney General DeWine is partnering with the Jason Foundation as part of our Attorneys General Program,” Jason Foundation President Clark Flatt said. “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.


More information on identifying at-risk youth and preventing youth suicide can be found on the Jason Foundation’s website: www.jasonfoundation.com.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.