Area schools bringing in suicide prevention program - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Area schools bringing in suicide prevention program

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FAIRFIELD - After tragedy strikes, an area school is teaching students and faculty on how to spot the signs of suicide.

15 year old Jonathan Childers took his own life in August, 2013. Neither his family, friends or football team saw any warning signs leading up to his suicide. After a call from the head of the Jason Foundation, Jonathan's father Kevin Childers worked to bring in the program so no other family would go through what he did.

The school is already providing classes for teachers to learn the warning signs of suicide, and students will start later in the spring.

"You don't have to be a therapist or a doctor or a psychologist to be able to recognize these signs. These are just everyday things that you may see in a student," Sheila Hunt with the Foundation says.

Kevin Childers says it's working. He says they've already had interventions at the school and students going through the classes will only help. Childers helped bring in the program after getting a call from the Foundation's founder Clark Flatt. Flatt lost his own 16 year old son Jason Flatt in 1997 and he started the foundation the same year. In 2001, the first state passed the Jason Flatt Act which requires every teacher to take two hours of suicide preventative training per year. It's now in 12 states and is being pushed by one House Representative in Texas.

"Whatever I can do to make sure that another family doesn't have to go through what my family and this community has gone through then it's worth everything," Childers said.

Childers is the defensive coordinator for the Fairfield football team. They lost in the state championship game in Dallas to Argyle 38-33. Jonathan's teammate Chris Lide says they dedicated the season in his honor and for their coach. However, neither family or teammates say they recognized any warning signs for his son.

"He never showed any sign, it was just a big shock, none of us expected nothing like that to ever go on with him," former teammate Chris Lide said.

"Looking back, everything was normal, can't put a finger on anything," Childers said.

Everything provided by the Jason Foundation is free to the school, but even if it costed money Childers says it would be worth it if it saved the life of one child like the son he lost.

"Jonathan was wonderful, Jonathan was a great young man, worked hard, had the same dreams and aspirations of all kids. Wanted to go to Texas A&M. He was a great kid," Childers said.

Hunt says she's set up a presentation with Copperas Cove ISD on February 4, and they should start training later this spring.


Suicide Prevention and Intervention Warning Signs

Verbal
- Direct statements such as, "I want to die," or "I don't want to live anymore."
- Indirect statements such as, "I want to go to sleep and never wake up," or "They'll be sorry when I'm gone," or "Soon this pain will be over."

Behavior
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Making funeral arrangements.
- Death themes: spoken, written and in art.
- Loss of interest in activities that previously brought pleasure
- Use of dark, heavy, slashing lines, unconnected bodies in art work and doodling
- Recent loss through suicide
- Dwindling academic performance
- Sudden decrease or increase in appetite.
- Sudden changes in appearance

Warning signs courtesy of Cedar Crest Hospital in Belton, Texas.

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