Prevention Resources

The teen years are often marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions – difficult for teens, their parents, and educators. One of the most significant challenges is identifying and addressing depression as it is easy to misread as normal adolescent turmoil. However, depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.

To proactively address these issues, ConVal has been offering depression awareness and suicide prevention education 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 include:

  • 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 education on 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

SOS: Signs of Suicide Program

The SOS Program will be delivered by the Student Support Team members, which include school counselors, student assistance counselors, school psychologists, and school nurses. The program will be delivered to your student enrolled in Health and Wellness 1 sometime throughout the school year. The SOS Program includes a video, class discussion, and Brief Depression Screening Tool. This tool cannot provide a diagnosis of depression, but does give an indication of whether a young person should be referred for evaluation by a mental health professional.  Students who score at risk on the screening tool will be confidentially assessed by a school counseling member.

The SOS Programs use a simple and easy-to-remember acronym, ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), to teach students action steps to take if they encounter a situation that requires help from a trusted adult. SOS is offered for both middle and high school aged youth and can be implemented in one class period by existing faculty and staff.

Not Alone

“Not Alone captures the important voices of youth with lived experience of suicide attempts, self-injury, mental health issues, and depression in a unique, engaging, and hopeful way. In an age where media surrounding these topics is largely doom and gloom, sensationalized, or glamorized, this film shines a light on hope and on helping those in need.” Chris Maxwell, American Association of Suicidology

This film can be viewed online through multiple media outlets.