PREVENTION & EDUCATION
Educate Students on the signs and symptoms of depression and suicidality.
Our school-based mental health programs are designed to help youth navigate the often difficult path of adolescence. Our programming focuses on prevention through education by teaching students to identify symptoms of depression, suicidality, and self-injury in themselves and their peers. Using a simple and easy-to-remember acronym, ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), students are taught certain steps to take if they encounter a situation that requires help from a trusted adult.
Through our programs, students are taught that suicide is not a normal response to stress, but rather a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression.
Implement evidence-based programming.
The SOS Signs of Suicide® High School Prevention Program is the only school-based suicide prevention program listed on SAMSHA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression, while reducing suicide attempts. In a randomized controlled study, the SOS program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40% (BMC Public Health, July 2007).
The SOS Signs of Suicide Middle School Program is listed in Section III of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s (SPRC) Best Practices Registry. Programs listed in Section III (Adherence to Standards) address specific goals of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and have been reviewed by a panel of three suicide prevention experts and found to meet standards of accuracy, safety, and programmatic guidelines.
Identify and screen at-risk youth.
The SOS Programs will help you and other school staff members facilitate an open discussion with students about mental health and identify those students who need further evaluation.
Through research we have learned that a positive relationship with an adult is one of the most critical factors in preventing student violence, suicide, and bullying. The SOS Program encourages students to identify a trusted adult in their life such as a school counselor, teacher, or coach, and to turn to them when in need.
Also included in the SOS Program is a validated screening tool to assess students for the signs of depression. The screening tool is not diagnostic but indicates the presence of symptoms consistent with depression. While we highly recommend using both the screening tool and the educational video components, schools are not required to use the screening tool.The 40% reduction in suicide attempts in the randomized controlled study is a result of schools using both the screening and education components.
Become a Certified Trainer
Screening for Mental Health's Youth Programs Team offers individuals the opportunity to attend national trainings to become certified to guide school staff and individuals from other youth serving organizations in implementation of the nationally recognized SOS Program. Interested in learning more about becoming a SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program Certified Trainer? Click here.
PROMOTIONS & SUPPORT
Help is just a click or phone call away.
Part of our job is making your job easier. We pride ourselves on supporting you every step of the way with friendly, knowledgeable, and timely service. Throughout the year we provide free webinars, helpful customer service emails, and rely on your suggestions and feedback to make improvements to our products each year. Need help or have a question? Email us at Youth@MentalHealthScreening.org or give us a call at 781-239-0071.
Each year, we update program materials to make sure the content remains current for students. We know how quickly trends and issues can come and go and strive to highlight those trends in our materials. From bullying, LGBTQ issues, substance abuse, to self-injury, our educational materials are constantly updated to provide the most relevant information for both educators and students.
RISK MANAGEMENT & LIABILITY
Gatekeeper Training - The Middle and High School SOS Programs include two gatekeeper training tools.
The first is Plan, Prepare, Prevent, a 90-minute interactive course providing in-depth suicide prevention education and guidance on implementation of the SOS Program.The online module offers free contact hours towards licensure for some school professionals.
The second tool is the “Training Trusted Adults” DVD, ideal for parent, community, and staff trainings. This video details the issue of depression and suicide among youth and emphasizes the important role parents and school personnel can play in helping at-risk students. The DVD comes with a discussion guide to help you start your community conversation.
School Risk Management - The SOS Program is an important risk management tool for schools. Implementing a suicide prevention program can reduce the institution’s liability.
A record of prevention programming is important. Many causes of serious student injury and death relate to mental health concerns.
Screening efforts and counseling services help show that your school takes student mental health issues seriously. Consulting with the school legal department for questions regarding policies ensures proper protocol.
SOS SECOND ACT: PREPARING FOR LIFE BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL
SOS Second Act is designed to build resiliency in young adults. In addition to reviewing the signs and symptoms of depression and suicidality, students are prompted to discuss substance abuse and other risky behaviors. Students are provided with a solid foundation on health care basics, health insurance, and self-care tips on seeking mental health treatment in the “real world.”
ONLINE PARENT BRIEF SCREEN FOR ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION
The Online Parent Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) allows parents to assess their child for suicide or depression risk factors. After parents complete a series of questions online, the screening provides results, local referral options (determined by each school), and relevant, educational information.
We have a sort of stigma that being in a difficult mental place is not acceptable.– Landon Donovan