Dear Parent / Caregiver,
Each year we work to teach students about mental health and how to seek help if they are worried about themselves or a friend. This year, I am using a program called SOS Signs of Suicide. The program teaches students about this difficult topic and encourages them to seek help.
SOS has been used by thousands of schools for over 20 years. Studies have shown that it effectively teaches students about depression and suicide while reducing the number of students’ self-reported suicide attempts.
Through the program, students learn:
- that depression is treatable, so they are encouraged to seek help
- how to identify depression and potential suicide risk in themselves or a friend
- to ACT (Acknowledge, Care and Tell a trusted adult) if concerned about themselves or a friend
- who they can turn to at school for help
In November, students in 7th and 8th grade will watch age-appropriate video clips and participate in a guided discussion about depression, suicide, and what to do if they are concerned about a friend. Following the video, students will be shown a brief depression screening form and asked to answer the questions silently and to themselves. This form cannot provide a diagnosis of depression but does indicate whether a young person should seek help from a mental health professional.
At the end of class, students will complete an exit slip which asks whether they would like to talk to an adult about any concerns. Myself, Nurse Ryan and Ms.Tottenham (EC counselor) will conduct brief meetings with any student asking to talk within 48 hours. If through those meetings we become concerned that a student may be suicidal, we will contact their adult.
We encourage you to visit www.mindwise.org/parents for information on warning signs for youth suicide, useful resources, and some of the key messages students will learn.
If you have any concerns that your child may be suicidal please reach out to 988, the national suicide prevention hotline.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s participation in this program please contact me at 470-597-2297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.