Mental Health Awareness Efforts

Former graduate takes Flatt Act to Oklahoma

Mental+Health+Awareness+Efforts

Payton Botelho, Reporter

Life is beautiful yet so delicate.  Students often have high expectations to seek education and endure through great pressure. Students’ mental health can wither under the pressure of school and outside conflicts. While teachers may focus on education, the well-being of the students is equally important.

With the aid of FISD faculty and students, the Texas Legislature passed the Jason Flatt Act in 2015. Now former student Mikaela Stamper is taking that initiative to the state of Oklahoma. 

I was able to meet the Founder of The Jason Foundation, Clark Flatt, who told me how proud he was that I was using my voice at such a young age to raise awareness and that my brother was proud of me.” Stamper said.  “Those words meant everything to me and have still motivated me to this day.”

I think it is so important to normalize talking about your emotions”

— Oklahoma State student Mikaela Stamper

The Texas Jason Flatt Act states that suicide prevention training must be provided on an annual basic, during new teacher orientation. Passed in Texas in honor of Jonathan Childers, it was put into effect June 19, 2015. Texas was the sixteenth state to pass the act.

“It was the second day of school, my freshman year (2013) when my step brother Blake took his own life,” Stamper said. “That day Coach Childers came to me and said ‘I have something I want you to help me with, it is going to help us move on and we are going to help other people. This was where I was introduced to The Jason Flatt Act.”

Stamper currently goes to Oklahoma State University and will be graduating in May with a double degree in Business Management and Marketing. 

“I was right by Coach Childers’ side the entire process of passing this bill in Texas,” Stamper said. “There was no greater feeling than it passing, but I knew my work wasn’t finished. I knew when I decided to go to school in Oklahoma that I wanted to pass this bill.”

Under Stamper’s guidance, the act was brought to Oklahoma State Representative John Talley. Talley and his legislative assistant have started the drafting of the bill, which Stamper will help present in February.

I think it is so important to normalize talking about your emotions,” Stamper said. “We have grown up knowing that it has a reputation of looking weak, but it takes a lot of courage to finally let it out. You are not weak just because you are sad. I want everyone at FHS to know that those teachers you see everyday truly care about you. They will be your biggest support system in anything you may face. Do not take them for granted. Without them I would not be who or where I am today.”

Stamper interview from OSTATETV, Oklahoma State University