SOS Program

SOS Program
Posted on 11/16/2018

November 2018                                                                                                                                      

Dear Parent or Guardian:

The teen years are usually marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions.  These times can be difficult for teens, their parents, and educators.  It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (among the most common forms of metal illness) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age.  The past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.

To proactively address this issue, Pleasant Middle School is offering the Signs of Suicide (SOS) depression screening and prevention training.  This nationally recognized program has been used by thousands of schools over the last seven years.  It has been proven successful to increase the rate students, who are concerned about themselves or a friend, get the help they need.  This school-based suicide prevention program also has been shown to reduce the number of suicide attempts in a randomized, controlled study (American Journal of Public Health, March, 2004).

Our goals in participating in this study are:

-To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression

-To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression

-To provide students with training in how to identify serious depression and/or potential suicidal behaviors

-To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns

This depression screening tool deals with the thoughts and feelings, which a parent may be unaware their child is having concerning these issues.  This tool cannot provide a diagnosis of depression,  but does give an indication of whether a young person should be referred for evaluation by a mental health professional.

This screening will take approximately 40 minutes (one class period) and will consist of a short discussion/presentation by Marion Area Counseling Center (MACC) professionals followed by a brief questionnaire.  The 8th graders will only take the questionnaire.  This will be during the school days of November 20th for 7th grade students and November 27th for 8th grade students.  A therapist will follow-up with students if concerns are indicated on the screening.  All costs related to this are being covered by a grant to MACC from the Marion Community Foundation.

While I encourage all students to participate, I do realize this is (and should be) a parental decision.  Please call the office before or on November 16th if you do not want your child to participate in this screening.  A sample questionnaire is also available on our website.  Please feel free to contact us at school with any questions or concerns you may have concerning this important issue.


John Lewis - PLMS Guidance Counselor
Lane Warner - PLMS Principal

SOS letter 2018.doc