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Suicide Prevention Programs Provide Resource At Schools


Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. On average, there are 117 suicides daily, with more that are unknown and only attempted. 

Depression can cause serious harm, like thoughts of suicide, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, and much more. 

Since 2006, Prince George High School has implemented The Signs of Suicide program to help students struggling with mental wellness.

Students reported that it would help middle schoolers as well, so the SOS program was established at N.B. Clements Junior High and J.E.J. Moore Middle School following PGHS.

The program is given to all students through Health and PE classes for 6th, 8th and 10th graders. 

School psychiatrist Sandy Correll has been very passionate about this program since it was first researched, and following the loss of students to suicide.

“Students have provided feedback over the years and greater than 90% of students have indicated that this is useful information for them,” Correll said.

The SOS presentations have reached out to many students struggling with depression and signs of suicide. 

“I feel very passionate about the importance of this program and it has the backing of the school board,” Correll said.

School board chairman Kevin Foster strongly supports the program.

“Student achievement and academic successes are directly impacted by a child’s overall mental health,” Foster said.

To be successful in school, a student needs a stable and strong mental, emotional, and physical health.

“We are fortunate to employ talented school psychologists to assist our teachers and guidance counselors when students need help,” Foster said.

After the SOS presentations are given by physical education teachers, all students are asked to fill out a response card that either says they need to talk to someone or do not need to talk to someone, based on the information given in the DVD.

If a student responds with needing someone to talk to, the student is then referred to a guidance counselor who can help them.

Prince George County Schools get their program from The programs are designed to educate students about symptoms of depression, suicide, and self-injury in themselves and their peers.

Signs of suicide and depression include the following: talking about wanting to kill oneself, finding ways of hurting oneself, feeling hopeless, being withdrawn or isolated from everyone, and more. 

“Many suicide attempts go unnoticed and everyone should take the initiative to bring more awareness about suicide and other mental illnesses,” Foster said.

The program given throughout Prince George can educate students about prevention skills such as the acronym ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), and ways to identify a trusted adult in their school community that they feel comfortable with about themselves or their friends. You are to acknowledge that someone is struggling, let them know you care about them and tell a trusted adult.

Suicide prevention is important for every school to incorporate into education because it can save lives and it educates people on a topic that is very critical to teens nowadays.

“Students, teachers and parents should be aware of the signs of depression and suicide because it affects people of all ages especially teenagers in a time of being stressed,” Foster said. 

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