SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program

What sets the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program apart from other suicide prevention programs?

The SOS program doesn’t just educate students; it helps to save young lives through its unique programming:

Because vital screening is built into the program, school staff and parents can identify at-risk youth and get them the help they need before it’s too late.

The SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program is the only school-based suicide prevention program to show a reduction (by 40 percent!) in self-reported suicide attempts in a randomized controlled study

– BMC Public Health, July 2007

What is the goal of the SOS program?
The SOS program seeks to teach youth that depression is a treatable illness, empower them to respond to a potential suicide (themselves, a friend or a family member), and prevent teen suicide. These goals are accomplished through the ACT technique:

  • Acknowledge that you or a friend may be depressed or suicidal
  • Respond with Care
  • Tell a trusted adult

How does the SOS program empower students?

  • By helping teens understand the important connection between undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and suicide
  • By teaching teens the signs of suicide
  • By outlining action steps for dealing with these signs as a mental health emergency

Why did Elyssa’s Mission choose the SOS program?

  • It was developed by mental health professionals (Screening for Mental Health, Inc.).
  • It is evidence-based; SOS was selected by SAMHSA for its National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
  • It is cost-effective.
  • The program is easily implemented by existing school personnel during one or two class periods.
  • It uses proven screening tools that ensure not just education, but also critical follow up.

“Screening programs are incredibly effective…”We should be asking these questions the way we monitor for blood pressure. Same thing in schools.”
— Kelly Posner, director of the Columbia University Medical Center’s Center for Suicide Risk Assessment
Source: http://www.edutopia.org/teenage-suicide-prevention-screening-programs

How is the SOS program implemented?
Elyssa’s Mission provides school personnel with all SOS program materials, and further assists schools with all phases of implementation: planning, training, teaching and follow-up, all free-of-cost to schools! The critical program components include:

  1. DVD and Discussion Guide
    These powerful teaching tools describe the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide, and highlight the right and wrong way for students to respond. View the trailer from the new Friends for Life High School DVD
  2. Depression Screening
    Both the high school and middle school program utilize the Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD), which helps school staff to identify students that may potentially have depression and subsequently link them to needed resources.

The program further provides educational materials for school personnel and parents. For more information on the SOS program visit https://mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/youth

Contact an Elyssa’s Mission program expert to learn more about implementing SOS in your school.