Hello to you, our amazing partners and dedicated suicide prevention advocates!
May 27, 2020
As we wind down the school year – in these unusual times – I wanted to start by THANKING YOU for the generous support, creative thinking, and hard work you have provided to schools and students across the country. Your commitment to support SOS in schools has delivered:
- 308 new programs across the country (32% of all new programs fulfilled)
- 350 SOS program renewals (26% of total renewals)
- Funding for 67 scholarships for schools in 22 states that otherwise would not be able to offer SOS
What incredible reach and impact you’ve had on the lives of thousands of young people this year. Yes, there is always more to do, but this is worth celebrating!
ACT at Home
This spring, COVID-19 significantly impacted schools’ ability to train students, since SOS is designed for in-person delivery. It simultaneously shone a spotlight on, and increased the need for, more mental health education. For SOS, that meant quickly pivoting our focus to develop resources and materials that schools needed to deliver student and family support in a virtual environment.
We developed the ACT at Home model and a host of other social distancing resources for students, teachers, and parents. They include information on how to build protective factors, support and safeguard youth, practice self-care, and ACT in an environment where we can’t be around others who may be struggling. We continued to focus on a framework of safety, predictability, and control (I emailed in March about that) and made all new materials publicly available to any school who needed them.
- Coping With Uncertainty Part 1 and Part 2,
- Supporting Student Mental Health from a Distance,
- and Best Practices for Supporting Students, Teachers and Parents.
We have also optimized our SOS Train the Trainer for virtual delivery to schools and nonprofit groups, and have kicked off this model with a large Maryland school district.
With schools almost out for the summer, we will be using the quieter months for several different projects. MindWise is moving to a new learning management platform, where we will house SOS and our Screening program, while also building out a library of online trainings that will span topics relevant to both schools and workplaces. We have kicked off program development for the elementary set and are teeing up brand new refresher videos for high school and middle school, with associated materials for release in the fall.
As we all figure out the safest ways to start to physically reintegrate ourselves, SOS will be working hard to continue to develop new resources and materials for youth and schools. We are grateful every day for your partnership and support in our journey to educate folks about youth suicide prevention.
Kara Neymeyr, MPA
Signs of Suicide Program Director