Dear Parent / Guardian,
During this challenging year, APS school staff are working to teach students about mental health and how to seek help if they are worried about themselves or a friend. As in previous years, APS middle and high school student services will be using a program called SOS (Signs of Suicide) in grades 8 and 10. The program teaches students about this difficult topic and encourages them to seek help.SOS has been used by thousands of schools over the past few decades. Studies have shown that it effectively teaches students about depression and suicide while reducing the number of students’ self-reported suicide attempts.
Through the program, students learn
- that depression is treatable, so they are encouraged to seek help
- how to identify depression and potential suicide risk in themselves or a friend
- to ACT (Acknowledge, Care & Tell a trusted adult) if concerned about themselves or a friend
- who they can turn to at school for help, if they need it
Students will watch age-appropriate video clips and participate in a guided discussion with a staff member of the Student Services department about depression, suicide, and what to do if they are concerned about a friend. Following the video, students will complete a response slip which asks whether they would like to talk to an adult about any concerns. A member of the WMS Student Services Department will conduct brief meetings with any student asking to talk. We encourage you to visit www.sossignsofsuicide.org/parent for information on warning signs for youth suicide, useful resources, and some of the key messages students will learn.
List of local resources:
- Arlington Mental Health 703-228-1550 Child and Family Services https://health.arlingtonva.us/behavioral-healthcare/mental-health/
- Emergency Mental Health 703-228-5160 https://health.arlingtonva.us/behavioral-healthcare/mental-health/emergency-services/
- Dominion Hospital (First Step) 703-538-2872 https://dominionhospital.com/
- Children’s National Medical Center 202-476-5 980 https://childrensnational.org/departments/psychiatry-and-behavioral-sciences
- Crisis Link Regional Hot Line: 703-527-4077
- National Hope Line: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s participation in this program please contact our 8th grade school counselor, Ashley Bleakley at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Director of Counseling, Elise Kenney at email@example.com.