$86,000 for Suicide Prevention in Elk & Cameron Counties

Photo of DCI Leadership and Signs of Suicide staff receiving a check for $86,000 from AJ & Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust members.

RIDGWAY - Dickinson Center, Inc. (DCI), a member of the Journey Health System, was awarded $86,000 from the AJ & Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust to support their Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program in Elk and Cameron counties.  Trustees presented the check to DCI and local school superintendents on April 5, 2017.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for children ages 10-14 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-CDC).  Students ages 10-14 are our 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  Dickinson Center encourages the community to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide.  Thoughts of wanting to die are not a normal reaction to stress or emotional upset, and are 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.

The Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program is facilitated to middle and high school students in Elk and Cameron counties. SOS 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.  DCI’s collaboration with CAPSEA has enabled expansion of the SOS Program’s message to include age-appropriate bullying prevention education to elementary school students.  In conjunction with Penn Highlands Community Nurses, Camp Flutterbye has allowed for DCI staff to assist area youth in the healthy processing of grief and loss; a risk factor that, left unaddressed, can lead to depression.