Clark Flatt knows all too well how the epidemic of teen suicide can creep into any home without warning.
His son Jason committed suicide when he was 16.
More than a decade later, the Tennessee-based family created The Jason Foundation to raise awareness about the issue.
The organization is spreading to Las Vegas and Henderson to partner with Seven Hills Hospital and Harmony Healthcare.
“We want to educate and prevent youth suicide as much as possible,” said Cynthia Polsinelli, the business development director at Seven Hills Hospital. “It works so much better when agencies come together. We can be more effective.”
Seven Hills Hospital, 3021 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, offers medical and psychiatric care for people 12 or older suffering from mental health issues or substance abuse.
Similarly, Harmony Healthcare provides treatment for the same issues throughout Las Vegas and Henderson with facilities at 9140 W. Post Road, 1701 W. Charleston Blvd. and 3005 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway.
Among mental health issues the staff sees, suicide is a common reality.
Nationally, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24, according to The Jason Foundation.
In Nevada, one in six students reported having considered suicide in the last year, while one in 13 reported attempting it.
“It’s a hard subject that needs to be talked about,” Polsinelli said.
Flatt said a way to help address this issue is to engage the community.
“By providing educational programs to students and educators, we can have a positive effect in reducing suicide attempts,” he said.
The Jason Foundation is joining forces with both health care providers to provide a community resource center.
“We provide educational outreach to the community,” Polsinelli said. “We provide them with the tools they need at no cost.”
She added that training materials can be tailored to meet the needs of parents, teachers, guidance counselors, coaches and churches.
Along with items to help teens, Polsinelli said there are materials geared toward military families that also have to deal with the issue.
Polsinelli said it is good to have the backing of The Jason Foundation because of its back story.
“It’s a great foundation,” she said. “The parents lost their son. They are able to use that to talk about the tragedy. I think it’s helpful for them to talk about it. It makes the message stronger.”
For more information on the foundation, visit jasonfoundation.com. For more information on Seven Hills Hospital, visit sevenhillsbi.com or call 702-646-5000. For more information on Harmony Healthcare, visit harmonyhc.com or call 702-251-8000.
Contact Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.