SOS Program: Brief Screening for Signs of Depression – Week of May 19

Dear Parent/Guardian:

We will be conducting the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Curriculum and the Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) for your son/daughter’s class during the week of May 19th. This program has been used by thousands of schools over the past decade. It has proven successful at helping students concerned about themselves or a friend, while reducing suicide attempts. It is the only school-based suicide prevention curriculum listed by SAMSHA in its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression. The curriculum includes viewing a video, followed by a discussion period. 

The goals of the program are straightforward:

  • Help students understand that depression is treatable and assess whether or not they may have some symptoms of depression
  • Train students in identifying serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or friends
  • Impress upon teens they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns.

BRIEF SCREENING FOR ADOLESCENT DEPRESSION

Following the program we will provide an opportunity for students to take a few minutes to complete a brief screening form. We will be partnering with Riverside Community Care to provide the screenings. Mental health counselors working along with Riverside will be onsite to speak to any students who may show signs of depression or risk of suicide on the screening form or who express an interest in speaking to someone. These interviews are usually short (15-20 minutes) and are not considered mental health treatment or counseling nor are they a substitute for a comprehensive mental health evaluation. The meetings help us better understand students’ reactions to the material, and whether they have any experience with depression or thoughts around suicide. Parents will be informed if their child meets with a counselor along with any recommendations.

Please return this consent form to your son/daughter’s English teacher if you would like to have him/her participate in the screening process outlined above or you would like to opt out your son/daughter of the entire program. You do not need to return the consent form if you would only like your child to participate in the educational component of this program. If you have any questions about the program please contact Marlene Kenney at MKenny@riversidecc.org or 617-645-4470.

As always, if you are worried about your child/children, please contact their counselor. Thank you, as always, for your being our partners in this process.

Best,

Joel Stembridge, Principal