Dear Williamsburg Parents and Guardians:
This fall, APS schools including Williamsburg MS, are offering depression awareness and suicide prevention training 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).
Starting October 7th, Ms. Brenckle, 8th Grade School Counselor, will present the program to all 8th Grade students. The presentation will consist of viewing SOS videos that encourage students to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) when concerned about themselves or fellow students. Following the video Ms. Brenckle will facilitate a group discussion and the students will complete a screener and ask to speak to a member of Williamsburg’s Student Services staff, if necessary. Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:
- 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 training in 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
Below is a link to the SOS Parent Portal. This portal will allow you as a parent to review the materials and topics we will cover in our screening and will also connect you with resources and educational materials related to adolescent mental health issues.
Parent Login Information
If you do NOT want your child to participate in the SOS Program in school, please contact Ms. Brenckle, 8th Grade School Counselor by phone, 703.228.5450, or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in this program.