Kansas, Missouri congressmen working on bill for suicide prevention in schools

Posted at 10:22 PM, Apr 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 14:02:45-04

Two local Congressmen are working together on legislation for suicide awareness in schools after a Johnson County mother pushed for change following her daughter’s suicide.

Congressman Kevin Yoder (R – Overland Park, Kansas) and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D – Kansas City, Missouri) tell 41 Action News they plan to introduce a bill for suicide prevention in schools.

Cathy Housh of Johnson County told us last fall she wants a nationwide law to try to reduce the second leading cause of death for young people.

“It is so horrific that you can't put it into words,” Housh said of losing her daughter Cady in 2014.

New Kansas Law

Housh credits our reporting for Kansas lawmakers unanimously passing the Jason Flatt Act last year. The law went into effect this year and requires free online training for teachers to spot potential warning signs. 

“Because of Channel 41 stepping up and staying involved with this and doing those follow-up phone calls, this is the reason it got pushed forward,” Housh said.

Our reporting on Suicide Awareness in Schools Law in Kansas just won two Edward R. Murrow Awards for best News Series and Continuing Coverage

Jason Flatt Act

Clark Flatt started the Jason Flatt Act in Tennessee in 2007 in honor of his late son. 

“The next three years, suicide rates in Tennessee went down 28.3%,” Flatt told 41 Action News. “Four out of five young people who will attempt suicide will give clear warning signs before the attempt.”

Kansas became the 19th state to adopt the Jason Flatt Act, but not Missouri.

Missouri Bill Stalled

Speaker of the House Todd Richardson told us last year the Jason Flatt Act would go up for a vote, but it never did.

“That bill will have a chance,” Speaker Richardson told 41 Action News last year. “It will go on the calendar this week!”

The Jason Flatt Act is still stalled in the Missouri House of Representatives this year. 

Bi-partisan Congressional Support

That’s why Cathy Housh wants a nationwide law.

“It will save lives, so let’s do it. Let’s get it introduced. Let’s get it passed,” said Housh.

It would take bi-partisan support, but two Congressmen from opposite parties are already working together to introduce a bill.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call them at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).