SOS Signs of Suicide is an evidence-based program designed for middle and high school students that teaches youth to identify signs of depression and suicide in themselves and their friends. SOS has been distributed to over 10,000 schools and organizations across the country.
SOS student training can take place in as little as one class period. The program consists of two primary components:
SOS Student Videos
The 20-minute educational videos (one each for middle and high school) show students how to identify signs and symptoms of depression and suicide. They encourage help-seeking behavior through the ACT® technique: Acknowledge signs of suicide in a friend, show your friend that you Care, Tell a trusted adult.
Both videos contain age-appropriate dramatizations of students demonstrating common signs of depression and suicide along with the right and wrong ways to respond using the ACT technique. The middle school video combines dramatizations with and round-table discussion, while the high school video includes real-life stories from young adults who have sought help and who share their journeys of recovery.
Sample the SOS program videos by checking out the trailers below.
Middle School Program Trailer
High School Program Trailer
Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression
After discussing the videos, students complete the Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD), a short, non-diagnostic, educational screening form which screens for signs of depression and suicide. The BSAD can be completed anonymously as a tool to educate students and encourage help-seeking, or with students identifying themselves, which aids staff in recognizing students who may require follow-up.
At the end of the program, all students complete a response slip indicating whether they wish to talk to someone about themselves or a friend.
What the Program Includes
SOS Quick-Start Guide
The SOS Quick-Start Guide is a 7-page guide to walk you through how to get started with SOS. Topics include tips for program preparation, classroom training, following up with students, training faculty and staff, and engaging parents.
SOS includes shorter videos that can be used as refresher content with students who have been trained in previous years.
Supplemental Lesson Plans
Lesson plans can be used to extend SOS programming or added to an existing health curriculum, and address topics such as talking to trusted adults, identifying and building healthy coping skills, and building resilience.
Giveaway materials such as posters, newsletters, and more to reinforce the ACT message with your students. Students can also access our ACT webpage to learn more and be directed to resources outside the classroom.
Faculty/Staff Training Materials
Use the ACT message to train faculty and staff at your school on how to respond to a student in crisis. Provided materials include the 16-minute Training Trusted Adults video, a sample slide deck, and an informational handout.
Parent Engagement Materials
Keep parents informed and involve them in your suicide prevention efforts. Materials include a sample slide deck for a parent night, short videos on topics specific to parents, sample active and passive consent letters, and a parent page where parents can explore SOS from home.
SOS Signs of Suicide is a fully digital program that requires only an internet connection. Your school will receive a unique login to the online portal, where you can stream program videos and download all program materials.
New program developments are automatically added to your portal as they become available. SOS is priced on an annual, per-school basis. Check out our shop for pricing info.
Do you need any credentials or training to train students using SOS?
No additional training or qualifications are needed to provide evidence-based suicide prevention education to your students. SOS facilitators include school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and classroom teachers.
We do offer an in-person SOS Train-the-Trainer for schools or organizations looking for additional support.
How long does it take to train students?
SOS student training takes as little as one class period of about 50 minutes. Optional supplemental lesson plans and refresher videos allow facilitators to provide additional training.
Our school doesn’t have the resources to train the entire student body. Can we still use SOS?
Yes! Many schools choose to deliver SOS to a single grade, or on a rolling basis so that they allow plenty of time to follow-up with students in need. We recommend piloting SOS with one or two classrooms and then determining a plan for delivering SOS universally.
An annual subscription allows a school to train an unlimited number of students, faculty/staff, and parents throughout the year.
How many programs should I purchase?
Program pricing is based on a one-program-per-school model. Within a school, the student video can be streamed into as many classrooms as you choose simultaneously, and you may download and print as many copies of program materials as you need for your students, faculty/staff, and parents.
Do we need to purchase the program every year?
SOS operates on a subscription basis. Your initial purchase will give you access for one year from the date of purchase – after that, you can renew your program at our renewal price.
Can we use SOS at our camp/youth organization/after-school setting?
Absolutely! Any organization that serves youth can purchase and deliver SOS to youth.
I have a different question.
The SOS team is always here to help! Give us a call at 781-239-0071, or send us an email at SOS@MindWise.org.
While there is no training or certification required to start using SOS in your school, we do offer an in-person Train-the-Trainer option for schools or organizations seeking additional support. Check out our trainings page to learn more.