Type of Entry: School Programmes
Name: Signs of Suicide (SOS)
Date added: 1 May 2020
Delivery type: Face to face
Owned by: Mindwise Innovations (US)
Cost: Yes
Target audience: Teachers / educators
Core Elements

Signs of Suicide (SOS) is an evidence-based youth suicide prevention programme that teaches students how to identify signs of depression and suicide in themselves and their peers. The training also enables school professionals, parents, and community members to recognise students that are at risk and know what action to take.

Suicide First Aid

  • Recognise signs of suicidality
  • Understand reasons behind thoughts of suicide
  • Engaging a person in crisis empathically
  • Offer emotional support
  • Recognise potential barriers to seeking help
  • Signpost to appropriate resources (helplines)

Note: A school-based crisis management plan, such as that found in the Maine Youth Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention Guidelines, should be created prior to implementing the SOS Signs of Suicide program.

Length of Training

20 minute video

More extensive virtual training sessions are also available for adults wanting to become SOS facilitators. For more information, click here.

Evaluation
  • Using SOS, 90% of schools have seen an increase in students seeking help for themselves or a friend, with 95% believing the program also reduced stigma in schools.
  • SOS has shown a 64% reduction in self-reported suicide attempts.

 References:

  • Aseltine, R. & DeMartino, R. (2004). An Outcome Evaluation of the SOS Suicide Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health, 94(3), 446-451. Available here.
  • Aseltine, R., James, A., Schilling, E. & Glanovsky, J. (2007). Evaluating the SOS Suicide Prevention Program: Replication and extension. BMC Public Health, 7(161). Available here.​​​​​​
  • Schilling, E., Lawless, M., Buchanan, L & Aseltine, R. (2014). "Signs of Suicide" shows promise as a middle school suicide prevention program. Suicide Life Threat Behavior, 44(6), 653-667. Available here
  • Schilling, E., Aseltine, R. & James, A. (2016). The SOS Suicide Prevention Program: Further evidence of efficacy and effectiveness. 17(2), 157-166. Available here.

For more information on studies that support SOS, click here.

To read about students' views of the SOS training, click here.

Recommendations

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Endorsements

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Additional Information

SOS is powered by MindWise Innovations, a service of the nonprofit organization Riverside Community Care.

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