2019 SOS Suicide Prevention Screening

2019 SOS Suicide Prevention Screening
Posted on 09/17/2019

Dear Parent or Guardian:

 

The teen years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions that are difficult for teens, their parents, and educators.  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, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.

 

To proactively address this issue, Pleasant High School is offering a depression screening and suicide prevention training as part of the SOS Suicide Prevention Program provided by the Marion Area Counseling Center.  This program has been used by thousands of schools over the past seven years.  It has been proven to be successful at increasing the number of students seeking help about themselves or a friend and is the only school-based suicide prevention program to show a reduction in suicide attempts in a randomized, controlled study (American Journal of Public Health, March, 2004).

 

Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:

*To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression.

*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 a potential suicide situation in a friend.

*To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns

 

The depression-screening tool being used concerns thoughts and feelings, which a parent may be unaware, that their child is having.  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.

 

This screening for Seniors, Juniors, and Sophomores will take approximately 10 minutes and consists of a brief questionnaire administered by Marion Area Counseling Center professionals.  This will occur during the school day on October 16th (Sophomores), October 30th (Juniors), and November 6th (Seniors). The freshmen presentation will take a class period and consists of a video followed by the screening. This will occur on October 23rd. If a student trips the screening for depression or suicide, they will meet with a counselor from MAAC.  All costs related to this are being covered by a grant to MACC from the Marion Community Foundation.

 

While we encourage all students to participate, we realize this is (and should be) a parental decision.  Please call the office before October 16th, if you do not want your child to participate in this screening.  A sample questionnaire is available on the Pleasant web site.  Please contact the school with any questions or concerns you may have.

 

Sincerely,

 

Steven Ringer                                                             Kristine M. Webb