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Depression Awareness

Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Program

Program Description

The teen and young adult years are often a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with wide variations in mood.  Depression appears to be occurring more frequently and at a much earlier age than in the past, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers. Warning signs are too often  overlooked, and the opportunity to prevent these tragedies is lost.  To increase awareness of the signs of depression and suicide risk, Monte Vista High School counselors and school psychologists present the Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Program annually to all ninth graders through their health classes.  The program helps students understand the connection between untreated mental illness and suicide, teaching them how to identify and respond to signs of depression and suicide. 

Beginning in January 2017, all eleventh graders at Monte Vista will have the opportunity to review and deepen their learning from the original ninth grade presentation. Our goal is that they will be better prepared to handle the stresses of junior and senior years, then make the emotional transition to life after high school. Students will be reminded of the signs of depression and suicide risk so that they can be proactive in their own lives and that of their peers when these issues arise. They will hear about handling crisis situations and accessing appropriate resources on college campuses and in their communities. This program, along with the ninth grade program, will be presented by school counselors at all of our district high schools.   

Dear Parent or Guardian:

As you know, life is often a roller-coaster ride of emotions with teen years being especially susceptible to wide variations in mood.  It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression is among the most common disorders in youth.  Suicide is directly related to mental illness, typically depression, and is one of the most serious public health problems facing our youth.  More than 90% of youth who die by suicide have a mental disorder that is often undiagnosed or untreated.

 

To proactively address this issue, SRVUSD's high schools are offering the Depression Awareness Suicide Prevention Program this school year.  This program is based on the SOS Signs of Suicide® Suicide Prevention Program which is the only school-based suicide prevention program that has demonstrated a significant reduction (by 40%) in suicide attempts (BMC Public Health, July 2007).

 

Our program goals are straightforward:

  • Decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression and mental health;
  • Teach our students to recognize the signs and symptoms of serious depression, self-injurious behavior, and potential suicidality in themselves and others;
  • Educate youth that suicide is not a normal response to problems but a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression or other mental illnesses; and
  • Encourage help-seeking by teaching teens to respond to the signs of suicide as a mental health emergency and to take specific action steps to help prevent a tragedy.

We intend to implement this program in the ninth grade health classes at Monte Vista High School. Presentations will be on October 13, 2016 and March 9, 2017 depending on what semester your child has health class. The program will take place during the class period as an educational lesson including a video and will be conducted by school psychologists and school counselors.  The presenters will be available for follow-up with students who wish to speak with them.

If you do not wish for your student to participate, please send a note to the Student Support Counselor, Lucy Daggett, before October 7, 2016 opting your child out of the classroom lesson.  Additionally, if you have any questions prior to the classroom presentation, please contact Lucy Daggett at ldaggett@srvusd.net.

 

Sincerely,

Kevin Ahern
Principal