Gov. Tomblin today signed the Jason Flatt Act of 2012, Senate Bill 221, at a Morgantown High School student assembly. The Act takes steps to prevent teenage suicide in West Virginia. Gov. Tomblin spoke to Morgantown students and teachers about the tragedy of youth suicide and the importance of recognizing and reacting to suicide warning signs.
The Jason Flatt Act is named in honor of the late Jason Flatt, who took his own life in 1997 at age 16. After Jason's death, his family created the Jason Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to preventing youth suicide. The Foundation has developed a curriculum for students and informational seminars for parents and teachers.
"I want to commend Mr. Flatt and our state legislators for taking action to save young people," Gov. Tomblin said. "Every week in America, more than 100 teenagers take their own lives, leaving family and friends grief-stricken and wondering what signs they missed. With the help of the Jason Foundation, West Virginia students and school personnel will learn to recognize the often subtle clues that a teenager is in distress and take action before tragedy strikes."
Clark Flatt, Jason's father, joined Gov. Tomblin for the bill signing. "I am so proud that West Virginia has helped take the lead in youth suicide awareness and prevention by passing this important legislation, the Jason Flatt Act," said Mr. Flatt. "Through the leadership of the Legislature and Governor Tomblin, there is no doubt in my mind that this action will save young lives."
The Act requires the West Virginia Center for Professional Development to provide training resources on suicide prevention for all West Virginia school faculty and staff.