Training may be crucial to stop suicidesPublished 11:03am Wednesday, August 21, 2013
When compared to many other laws the Ohio Legislature has passed or considered in recent years, House Bill 543 barely caused a blip on the public’s radar. Yet it may have more of an impact — in terms of saving lives — than most other laws passed in recent months.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marlene Anielski, took effect earlier this year. It has a very simple goal: To curb what the lawmaker calls a “silent epidemic” of teen suicides.
The law requires awareness training in Ohio’s public schools and offers a way to accomplish this at no cost by using the Jason Foundation, an organization founded by a father who lost his son to suicide.
The statistics are alarming. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15 to 24 age group in our country. An average of 100 young people take their own life each week. One in seven in the 15 to 20 age group have seriously considered suicide and one in 11 have actually attempted it, according to Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Experts say that in 80 percent of the cases the individual makes a cry for help or gives clear signals that something is wrong. But those around the young men and women have to know what to look for.
Lawrence County has been very fortunate in this regard in recent years but that certainly doesn’t mean there are not youth right now who are heading down this dark path.
Even one life saved would make the training worth every second. Maybe then people will really start talking about this issue.