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Research - Children - Suicide

SOS is an effective suicide prevention program
7/10/2004 12:00 PM
By: Ivanhoe Broadcast News

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens -- behind accidents and homicides.

Researchers say about 500,000 teenagers try to kill themselves every year, and about 5,000 go through with it. Experts say depression is a treatable mental illness and that people can be identified and effectively treated for the condition.
Depression is a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.
Some signs of depression include:

Sad or "blue" mood which lasts for weeks or months

Spells of crying when a person might not even know what he or she is crying about

Chronic fatigue of a lack of energy

Poor self-esteem

Lack of enjoyment in life

SOS is a program to help prevent kids from committing suicide. It stands for Signs Of Suicide. Experts say the program effectively changes attitudes about suicide by emphasizing the connection between suicide and mental illness -- particularly depression.
Screening for mental health problems is one of SOS's most effective and important tactics. SOS teaches students how to ACT -- acknowledge the warning signs of suicide and take the signs seriously, always care, and tell a responsible adult.

Stopping teen suicide

Recent study shows that Signs of Suicide reduced suicide attempts among teenagers by 40 percent.

SOS tries to tap into the center of social involvement and emotional investment in peer groups. Most importantly, SOS encourages students to ACT.
In the March 4 edition of American Journal of Public Health, a study showed the SOS program reduced suicide attempts by 40 percent. This is the first time in 20 years that a school-based prevention program is making a difference. The program is designed to be easily duplicated in a variety of school settings.
SOS only takes between one and two class periods to be implemented, and it only costs about 40 cents per student. More than 1,300 schools nationwide have implemented the program.

For more information

To learn more, contact:

Jane Shaskan
Communications Officer
University of Connecticut Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-5385
(860) 679-4777


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