Dickinson Center, Inc. (DCI) was awarded $85,500 from the AJ & Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust to support their Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program in Elk and Cameron counties. Trustees Don Fleming and Bob Ordiway presented the check to DCI, CAPSEA (Citizens Against Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse) and local school representatives on April 9, 2015.
The Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program is facilitated to students in Elk and Cameron counties’ middle and high schools. The SOS Program is an evidence-based curriculum designed to combat increasing rates of suicide among middle and high school youth. The school-based program works to prevent suicide by raising student awareness of depression, and other risk factors. The program also includes a short depression screening for students to evaluate their own risk factors for depression. SOS is designed to teach youth the signs in others. The students are taught the ACT plan as a response to recognition of suicidal behavior. The ACT plan involves Acknowledgement of suicidal behavior, demonstration of Care for suicidal students, and Telling trusted adults about recognized depressive symptoms and/or suicidal behavior. The SOS Program was implemented in Elk and Cameron counties in 2007 as a result of the support from the Palumbo Charitable Trust. The Trust and Dickinson recognized the need from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey data that reported 30% of 10th and 12th graders in Elk and Cameron counties reported feeling sad and/or depressed most days, and local data that reflected suicide attempts and/or completed suicides. This year DCI’s collaboration with CAPSEA enabled expansion of the SOS Program’s message to include age-appropriate education to elementary school students; most notably through a school-wide bullying prevention campaign at St. Marys Catholic Elementary School.
Suicide among young people is one of the most serious public health problems in the United States. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate for youths and young adults aged 15 to 24 years has tripled since 1950, and suicide is now the third leading cause of death in this age group. Dickinson Center encourages the community to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide. Suicide is not a normal reaction to stress or emotional upset, and is typically associated with depression. If you have a family member or friend who you are concerned about, encourage them to seek help. If concerned , or you would like to learn more about the SOS Program, contact Tana Funair, Program Director at 834.2602.
Dickinson Center, Inc. is a P.A.N.O accredited organization (Pennsylvania Association for Nonprofit Organizations). Dickinson was awarded accreditation under the Standards for Excellence program, which is bestowed only on the most well-managed and responsibly governed nonprofit organizations that have demonstrated compliance with 55 specific Standards for Excellence based on honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, responsibility, and accountability. DCI has met, complied with, and integrated the Standards for Excellence into all of its processes to successfully complete the voluntary accreditation.