New Campaign to Prevent Teen Suicide

New Campaign to Prevent Teen Suicide

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Sammy Linebaugh reporting It's a club that parents never want to belong to -- having a child who commits suicide.

Today begins a new effort to reduce the number of Utah families who might face this nightmare.

This effort was really started by one dad, who went through it with his own son, and went on a nationwide campaign.

Clark Flatt is from Tennessee but is here for today's launch of a new school-based curriculum that he says is having great success nationwide.

His world, he says, was turned up-side-down eight years ago, when his 16-year-old son Jason took his own life. He says Jason was popular, active, seemingly happy -- and that's why he says, he wants every parent, teacher and classmate to be on the lookout for those subtle warning signs.

Here in Utah, some eye-opening numbers. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Utah finds one in four 9th through 12th graders in Utah report feeling sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks.

One in 6, roughly, report having seriously considered suicide. One in 8, according to the survey, actually made a plan at one point to take their own life, and one in 13 Utah teens, grade 9-12, report actually having attempted suicide.

Think of your teen's peer group, that's one in every 13 kids who report having actually made a suicide attempt.

Now, later this morning, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Utah First Lady Mary Kaye Huntsman will be launching a new school-based program researched by the Jason Foundation -- now, a national movement in 18 states, with the sole mission of getting teachers, administrators, peers, and parents to ask the right questions and pick up on signs of depression or anxiety in teens.

In effect, today the Salt Lake office of this national movement opens, with the goal of getting suicide prevention curriculums into every junior high and high school in the state.

Interestingly, no taxpayer money is being used for this. It is all privately funded.

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