Children's Prevention Services > Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program

Description of service provided:
The Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program offers middle and high school students curriculum aimed at teaching them the warning signs and symptoms of depression and suicide. The curriculum, delivered by SOS/Student Assistance Program staff, is presented first through a video (there are two different videos each designed specifically for middle school students and high school students). Each video teaches symptoms of depression and warning signs for suicide as well as what students should do if they or someone they know (friend or family member) is telling them they are feeling depressed or suicidal. Students are taught the acronym ACT which stands for Acknowledge, Care and Tell (acknowledge the problem, respond with care and tell a trusted adult). Additionally, it is explained to students that at no time should they ever keep secret someone’s plan to hurt themselves or another person nor is it their job to try to fix the problem alone; along with trying to help them understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a treatable problem, usually depression. Following the video, a response card is given to each student which provides them with the opportunity to speak to someone about the information that has just been presented.

For high school students, following the video, a Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression screening is administered. Students are instructed to answer the screening questions honestly. Two questions on the screening are directly related to suicidal thoughts and attempts. After the screenings have been completed and collected, they are reviewed by the SOS/SAP staff. Students who score high are met with to see if further services are needed. Students who answer “yes” to the suicide-related questions are met with immediately and referrals/recommendations are made as needed.

For the middle school students, there are two follow-up games that staff can offer which reinforces the information they just learned regarding signs and symptoms of depression and suicide as well as what to do if they find themselves in a situation where they or someone they know are at risk.

Geographical area of service:
The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is offered to students in an identified grade in the following schools throughout Elk and Cameron counties:
Elk County Catholic High School – Elk County Catholic School System, SMASD
Cameron County Junior/Sernior High School – Cameron County School District
Johnsonburg Area Junior/Senior High School – Johnsonburg Area School District
Ridgway Area Middle/High School – Ridgway Area School District
St. Marys Area Middle School – St. Marys Area School District
St. Marys Area High School – St. Marys Area School District
St. Marys Catholic Middle School – Elk County Catholic School System, SMASD

Admission Criteria:
Each school identifies a grade and those students will participate in the SOS curriculum; provided the school has first received parental permission.

How to access service:
School personnel send home a consent explaining the program for parental permission. Schools use either a passive or active consent form. Only those students whose parents have given their permission can participate in the Signs of Suicide Prevention Program.

Address and hours of operation:
The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is part of Dickinson Center, Inc.’s Children’s Prevention Services which is located at:
The Community Education Council Building
Suite 302
4 Erie Avenue
P.O. Box 599
St. Marys, PA 15857
Hours of operation are from 8:00am – 4:00pm.
The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is available during the regular school year.

How consumers pay for service:
This program is offered at no charge for students and their families. This program is made possible through the funding of the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust.