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Ohio school employees required to complete youth suicide awareness and prevention training

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Lawmakers are hoping to turn a tragedy into a teachable moment with the passage of the Jason Flatt Act.

The Act was created in honor of Joseph Anielski, the son of Ohio legislator Marlene Anielski, which now requires all Ohio school employees to undergo youth suicide awareness and prevention training.

"We must do something to help our youth who are suffering from this epidemic in silence.  Empowering our dedicated professionals working with our children to recognize the signs and symptoms of students that may be at risk is an important step to stop this epidemic," says Ohio Representative Marlene Anielski.

The Act, which is law in 12 states, was first introduced in Tennessee after the suicide death of 16 year-old Jason Flatt, whose father now runs The Jason Foundation.

"Every year since it became mandatory the state of Tennessee has seen declining rates in youth suicide and the past two years youth suicide rates have declined 28.3% in Tennessee," says Clark Flatt, president of The Jason Foundation.

Ohio is hoping for the same results; they've partnered with The Jason Foundation to help educators identify kids who are at risk of taking their own lives.

"Everyone wants to help. Everyone wants to protect our kids, but what this bill does and what similar bills in other states are starting to do is it helps educate those people who are on the front lines," says Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine.

Schools have the option to either receive training materials free of charge from The Jason Foundation or implement another similar training program.

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