NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was summertime 22 years ago when Clark Flatt lost his youngest son, Jason.
The 16-year-old used his father’s gun, ending his own life.
“It was something that for family and friends was hard to comprehend,” explained Clark. “It was only after losing Jason, that I really found out about the true danger and impact of youth suicide.”
Turning this tragedy into a mission, Clark started The Jason Foundation.
The Jason Foundation has been providing parents and schools with research and materials on preventing teen suicides for more than two decades.
Through that journey though, Clark found that many, largely rural schools, faced another issue.
“They had had a traumatic event like a suicide attempt, or a suicide, and they were given the task of how do we best take care of this with our student body,” he explained.
The Jason Foundation has now teamed up with Acadia Healthcare, to form the Crisis Support Team (CST). The team offers schools advice in their darkest hours, for traumatic events such as school shootings, suicides and much more.
“We have a team that, anywhere in the nation now, can answer within 24 hours,” said Clark. “Be that sounding board, be that guidance to help a school counselor or school administrator.”
TJF rolled out statewide this month, and actually assisted a school in south Tennessee in the first few hours.
The service is now available nationwide. Schools in need simply need to fill out a form online and wait to be connected to those with advice at the ready.
“We try to find the most qualified person we have, to make contact with that counselor within 24 hours,” said Clark. “Then try to set up how we can help that person.”