Aurora Vista Del Mar Hospital Severely Damaged by Fire

Our sister facility in Ventura was partially destroyed by fire early in the morning on December 5, but all patients were safely evacuated.

It was a heroic effort by the hospital staff, many of whom worked through the night while their own families and homes were at risk.

 Aurora Charter Oak is the local Jason Foundation affilitate office, educating the community about youth suicide prevention and awareness.




September 27, 2016

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Thanks Governor for Signing Student Suicide Prevention Bill

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today thanked Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation requiring schools that serve students from grades 7 to 12 to adopt suicide prevention policies.

Torlakson supported AB 2246 by Assembly Member Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach and Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. The bill, signed on Monday, September 26, requires the California Department of Education (CDE) to develop and maintain a model suicide prevention policy.

“With this change, we can better identify students in need, get them help, and keep them safe,” Torlakson said. “One of my top priorities is serving the needs of the whole child, including their mental health needs. This bill is a big step forward in our ongoing efforts to help our students.”

“As classroom teacher, I know from experience that educators often serve as the first line of defense when a student is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts,” said Assembly Member O’Donnell. “AB 2246 will provide parents, teachers, and schools with the tools they need to help save the lives of at-risk youth.”

Torlakson is a longtime supporter of expanding mental health services and preventing suicides. When Torlakson served in the California State Senate in 2004, he was state co-chair of the campaign for Proposition 63, a measure that increased income taxes on the wealthy to fund mental health programs.

As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Torlakson convened a Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup. The group of 40 experts has conducted 20 free trainings in suicide prevention across the state for more than 500 teachers.

Earlier this year, CDE released the Healthy Kids Survey, which describes how students feel about school and how they rank their school environment.

The survey showed schools need to focus more attention on better meeting the needs of youth. For example, two indicators of depression risk showed little change since the last survey two years ago.

Nearly one-fourth of seventh graders and around one-third of ninth and eleventh graders reported feelings of chronic sadness or hopelessness. And, almost 20 percent of high school students had seriously contemplated suicide.

Torlakson in 2014 released a letter encouraging school districts to adopt suicide prevention policies. Under the new law, each district will be required to adopt suicide policies beginning with the 2017-18 school year. In 2014, there were nearly 2,300 suicide atempts by students 15-19 years old in California.

# # # #

Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100


Jason Foundation

Aurora Charter Oak and The Jason Foundation Provide Suicide Prevention Education to Local Community

Suicide is a national health problem that is also one of the leading causes of preventable death in our nation. 

In California:

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for middle and high school age youth (12 – 18).
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for college age youth (18 – 22).

The California Youth Risk Behavioral Survey reported:

  • Over 1 out of 7 young people seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months
  • Almost 1 out of 11 young people attempted suicide in the past twelve months

The Jason Foundation and Aurora Charter Oak Hospital are partners in raising awareness and providing education in our local community about youth suicide. 

The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is a national leader in youth suicide awareness and prevention programs targeted to address the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide.  Aurora Charter Oak Hospital is the affiliate office for JFI in Covina, CA. Affiliate offices serve as a hub where parents, teachers, guidance counselors, students, churches and other community organizations can obtain educational materials and learn about training programs available through JFI.  All programs, services, and materials are available to the public at no cost. 

Todd Smith, CEO of Aurora Charter Oak Hospital, said, “We are proud to be affiliated with The Jason Foundation.  Aurora Charter Oak Hospital recognizes how serious the problem of suicide is among adolescents and young adults. Every day, we work with individuals who are at-risk for suicide.  The Jason Foundation has developed excellent awareness and education materials and we are very pleased to have these additional resources for our community.”

Clark Flatt, President of JFI said, “Awareness and education are the foundation for prevention. We are very proud of our work with Aurora Charter Oak Hospital in helping to provide communities across California with programs and resources to help build this foundation for prevention.”

About JFI

JFI is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting “The Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational programs and resources for young people, educators, parents, and other community groups.  JFI, headquartered in Hendersonville, TN, was founded in 1997 after the tragic death of Jason Flatt, the 16-year-old son of Clark Flatt. For more information, please visit JFI’s website,   

The Jason Foundation representative at Aurora Charter Oak Hospital is Steve Jennings, who may be reached at 626-214-2029 or       

Laura's Law 

Laura's Law, which allows court-ordered outpatient mental health treatment for people with serious mental illness and a history of refusing treatment, has been implemented in Los Angeles County.  L.A. County, with 10 million residents, is the fifth California county to have adopted Laura's Law.  State lawmakers originally passed the law in 2002, but gave each county the option of enacting it locally.  Under the law, medical professionals, law enforcement officers or family members may request that the county mental health department petition a court to force a mentally ill individual into outpatient treatment.  However, only the County mental health director, or designee, may file a court petition for a hearing to determine if the person should be court ordered to receive AOT (Assisted Outpatient Treatment).

The L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved spending $1.6 million in funding from the state to set up the program, including salaries for 18 mental health workers.  The mental health workers are part of teams to evaluate individuals referred by family members, treatment providers, family members, or others.  The focus is on getting individuals with mental illnesses into voluntary outpatient treatment programs.  However, if the individual refuses, court hearings are a next step. 

An individual may be placed in AOT if the court finds that the individual is:

  • Suffering from a mental illness
  • Unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision
  • Non-compliant with treatment that has either:
    • Been a significant factor in his or her being in a hospital, prison or jail at least twice within the last thirty-six months; or
    • Resulted in one or more acts, attempts or threats of serious violent behavior toward self or others within the last forty-eight months
  • Failing to engage in voluntary treatment offered by the local mental health department
  • Substantially deteriorating
  • In need of treatment in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration that would likely result in the person meeting California's inpatient commitment standard: 
  • A serious risk of harm to himself or herself or others; or
  • Gravely disabled (in immediate physical danger due to being unable to meet basic needs for food, clothing, or shelter);
  • Likely to benefit from AOT; and
  • Participation in AOT is the least restrictive placement necessary to ensure the person's recovery and stability.

If you have a question about Laura's Law, or wish to make a referral within L.A. County, you may call 213-738-2440 or e-mail 


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