Notes from the Principal's Desk. .
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Olathe North Families,
It was brought to my attention that I did not get the Signs of Suicide information out to our families before the implementation. Students did an amazing job and I wanted to share the detailed information from this program.
The adolescent years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions and these years can be difficult for students and their parents. During these years, it is hard to know what is normal adolescent turmoil and what behaviors might be something more serious.
To proactively address these issues, the Olathe Public Schools is offering suicide prevention training and awareness 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 a 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).
Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:
Each Olathe high school will be implementing the SOS training on a different day. On those days (listed below), all students will receive about an hour of suicide prevention training, using SOS curricular materials. At the end of the training, students will be provided with a brief self-screener (see attached for sample). Before the training ends, students will be asked to fill out an exit slip which will ask whether or not they would like to speak with somebody further. Any student who would like to speak with a qualified mental health professional will be followed up with. On the days of the training, school counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and qualified mental health professionals from the community will be on hand to speak with students about themselves or a friend.
Youth suicide is now the second leading cause of death amongst our teenagers. Through the use of the SOS Signs of Suicide Program, we seek to provide our students and the community with the knowledge and resources to help themselves and others.
If you have any concerns or additional questions, please contact an Olathe North administrator or counselor. To learn more about SOS, please go to https://mentalhealthscreening.org/programs/youth
SOS Training Days:
Olathe East—September 9 Olathe North—September 23
Olathe Northwest—November 24 Olathe South—September 16
Olathe West—October 21
Sincerely, Jason Herman