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. Over 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 San Ramon Valley High. The program will take place on Tuesday, November 8, and again in late February for the second semester Health classes. This educational lesson includes 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 an email to me before Friday, November 4th opting your child out of the classroom lesson. Additionally, if you have any questions or wish to preview the educational materials prior to the classroom presentation, please contact me at (925) 552-3092 or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Student Support Counselor
San Ramon Valley High School