The SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program
For more than 10 years, Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) has worked on large-scale efforts directed toward youth suicide prevention, often in response to grant and sponsorship funding. To date, the evidence-based SOS Signs of Suicide® High School and Middle School Programs have been used to meet requisites for various initiatives. The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program® has been used by thousands of schools nationwide since 2000. The program is designed to educate students on how to respond to the signs of suicide as a mental health emergency, using the ACT® approach (Acknowledge, Care, and Tell). It has proven successful at increasing help-seeking by students concerned about themselves or a friend. Additionally, the SOS Program includes Booster and Self-Injury Prevention Programs. The Booster Program is an SOS refresher course designed for juniors and seniors preparing for life beyond high school. The Signs of Self-Injury Prevention Program uses the same model and ACT messaging to raise awareness of self-injury among high school students
The SOS Program’s mission is to decrease suicide rates and increase knowledge and adaptive attitudes in students. SOS 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 while reducing attempts. In a randomized control study, the SOS Program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40%.
Furthermore, research shows 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 and teaches them how to turn to them when in need. Recently we added two new gatekeeper training tools to our program.
• The first is Training Trusted Adults, an educational DVD ideal for parent nights and staff trainings. The video details the issues of depression and suicide among youth and emphasizes the important role adults play in helping at-risk students. Please view the trailer here.
• The second tool is Plan, Prepare, Prevent: The SOS Online Gatekeeper Training. This 90-minute online interactive course offers suicide prevention training and outlines SOS implementation. In addition, it offers free continuing education credits for school professionals. In addition, 1.5 Contact or Credit Hours are available for free for social workers and other school professionals.
Additionally, our SOS Middle School Program now comes with an updated DVD and discussion guide. The video, renamed "Time to ACT,” features students at a roundtable discussing mental health topics, one-on-one conversations between a high school student and trusted adult, and educational vignettes to model responding to a friend in need.
The SOS Program can be ordered online or through the registration brochure.
Tony Dellovo, MPH
Screening for Mental Health, Inc.
Office: 781-239-0071 ext 116