Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention
Dear Parent or Guardian:
The adolescent years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions—difficult for students and their parents. 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. Depression—which is treatable—is a leading risk factor for suicide. In addition, self-injury has become a growing problem among youth.
To proactively address these issues, Concordia Jr. Sr. High School is offering depression awareness and suicide prevention training as part of the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program. The program encourages students to seek help if they are concerned about themselves or a friend. The SOS Program is the only youth suicide prevention program that has demonstrated an improvement in students’ knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, as well as a reduction in actual suicide attempts. Listed on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, the SOS Program has shown a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40-64% in randomized control studies (Aseltine et al., 2007; Schilling et al., 2016).
Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:
- To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness
- To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression
- To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicide risk in themselves or a friend
- To impress upon youth that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a trusted adult about their concerns
- To teach students who they can turn to at school for help, if they need it
In order to achieve these goals, we are implementing the Signs of Suicide® evidence-based program for all students grades 7-12. Each student will learn how to identify risk factors in themselves and friends and learn a simple method for addressing concerns. After viewing an instructional video and engaging in discussion questions with trained staff the students will then fill out a survey that screens for various risk factors.
If you do NOT wish your child participating in SOS Program in school, please contact Mrs. Brianne Bredehoeft at 660-463-2246. If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in this program.