SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program
Posted on 12/03/2018
SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

Click here for letter and Opt-Out Form Click here for SOS BSAD Depression Screen and Questionnaire

December 3, 2018

Dear Parent or Guardian:

The teen years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions which is difficult for teens, their parents, and educators. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.

To proactively address this issue, our school is offering suicide prevention training and a brief depression screening as part of the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program. This program has been used by thousands of schools and it is well received by high school students. It has proven successful at increasing help seeking by students concerned about themselves or a friend and is the only school-based suicide prevention program to show a reduction in suicide attempts in a randomized, controlled study (American Journal of Public Health, March 2004).

We once again, plan to present the SOS program during a one hour block period in all Health Classes beginning December 2018 through June 2019.  Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:

To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression,
To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression,
To provide our students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in a friend, family member or themselves,
To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns.
To educate students that they can learn and use healthy effective strategies to manage stress, anxiety, anger and other difficult feelings.
Students will take a self-assessment depression inventory.  This has been proven to be very effective in identifying children who may be in need of mental health assessment and services.

The depression screening tool used focuses on thoughts and feelings which a parent may be unaware that their child is experiencing. This tool cannot provide a diagnosis of depression, but does give an indication of whether a young person should be referred for evaluation by a mental health provider.

If you do NOT want your child to participate in the SOS Suicide Prevention Program, please complete the opt-out form and return it to the office of an Adjustment Counselor, Mrs. Dempsey or Ms. Stetz by Monday, December 10th, 2018.   If you have concerns or questions about the program, please contact one of the following people:

Cynthia Dempsey, LICSW, Adjustment Counselor  508-697-6902 ext. 11137

Kim Stetz, LMHC, Adjustment Counselor               508-697-6902 ext. 11157       

If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in this program.

If you are unable to print this form, please contact us immediately and we will provide a paper copy to you.  Thank you.

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