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SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention program is an award-winning, nationally recognized program designed for middle and high school-age students. The program teaches students how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidality in themselves or their friends, and encourages help-seeking through the use of the ACT® technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).
The SOS High School program is the only school-based suicide prevention program listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression, while reducing suicide attempts. In a randomized control study, the SOS program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40% (BMC Public Health, July 2007).
The SOS Signs of Suicide® High School program incorporates peer intervention as part of its implementation strategy. Research indicates that adolescents are more likely to turn to peers than adults when facing a suicidal crisis. By training students to recognize the signs of depression, self-injury, and suicidality and empowering them to intervene when confronted with a friend who is exhibiting these symptoms, SOS capitalizes on an important social/emotional aspect of this developmental period.
The SOS program teaches students that depression is a treatable illness. Through the use of an educational DVD and discussion guide, 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. Students are given specific action steps, encouraged to engage in a discussion about these issues with their parents as well as utilize the peer-to-peer help-seeking model known as ACT® (Acknowledge-Care-Tell).
The SOS Signs of Suicide® Booster Program is a “refresher course” for students preparing for life beyond high school, teaching them how to identify and respond to serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or a friend. The SOS Booster program “graduates” the ACT® acronym to be more relevant for individuals approaching adulthood, replacing the Tell in ACT: Acknowledge, Care, Tell with Treatment—Help the person you are concerned about get to treatment. Lastly, the program familiarizes students with college and community-based mental health services.
The SOS Signs of Suicide® Middle School Program was created to assist in prevention efforts and to address the problems of youth depression, suicide, and self-injury simultaneously and age appropriately. The program uses a universal approach to assist in identification of at-risk youth.
Similar to the high school program, the SOS Middle School program teaches students that depression is a treatable illness. Through the use of an educational DVD and discussion guide, 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. Students are given specific action steps, encouraged to engage in a discussion about these issues with their parents as well as utilize the peer-to-peer help-seeking model known as ACT® (Acknowledge-Care-Tell).
For counselors, educators, administrators and concerned parents, the goals of the program are to decrease suicide, suicide attempts, and self-injury through awareness and knowledge of the signs of depression, self-injury and suicidality in youth, and to provide information about available referral resources. By treating mental illness like any other physical illness, the program helps fight stigma surrounding depression and suicide. The SOS program is designed to incorporate discussion of mental health issues into existing health and wellness curriculum. The program also increases self-efficacy and access to mental health services for at-risk youth and their families by getting schools to partner with community-based organizations that share mission to reduce youth suicide.
“The SOS program was beneficial in opening the lines of communication with our students regarding the topic of suicide. It afforded us the opportunity to educate students, remove stigmas and empower our students to make a difference with our community.”
Jeanne Cooper, student counselor at Battle Mountain High School
“Signs of Suicide (SOS) is a wonderful opportunity to bring the topic of suicide, a topic that is so stigmatized by our society into a controlled and structured environment for children. It allows them to learn the skills needed to ask their families and peers if they are in need of help and allows the children to recognize the signs of suicide. The program is a must for all middle and high school students!”
Corey Lamothe, SOS volunteer
For more information or to sign up email email@example.com
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