A youth suicide awareness and prevention bill signed into law by Gov. John Kasich was championed by Solon's representative in the state house.
Rep. Marlene Anielski, a Republican who represents Solon, attended Governor Kasich’s signing of House Bill 543, a law geared toward training teachers and school staff members in youth suicide awareness and prevention.
Designated the “Jason Flatt Act, Ohio, in honor of Joseph Anielski,” House Bill 543 requires public schools, as well as community (charter) schools and science, technology, engineering and math schools to train teachers and staff in areas regarding suicide prevention.
Joseph Anielski, the representative's son, committed suicide in 2010.
"I want to applaud the Ohio House of Representatives, the Ohio Senate, and Governor Kasich for passing legislation that addresses a critically important issue that far too many families experience. The youth silent epidemic must be addressed in a proactive manner," Rep. Anielski said in a news release. "I am proud to have sponsored a bill that strives to help Ohio’s most precious gifts, our children."
Under the bill, each school board and other school governing authority would be required to either adopt or adapt to the curriculum developed by the Ohio Department of Education or develop its own suicide awareness standards in consultation with public or private agencies or persons involved in youth suicide prevention programs.
In its 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Report for Ohio, the Center for Disease Control reported that one in seven Ohio students said they had "seriously considered suicide" in the past 12 months. Slightly more than one in seven had actually "made a plan to commit suicide" in that time.
Additionally, one in 11 Ohio students reported “attempting suicide one or more times in the past 12 months,” nearly 50 percent higher than the national average.
House Bill 543 passed unanimously from the House and Senate.