MindWise Innovations announces important modifications to its evidence-based SOS Signs of Suicide program for remote and hybrid learning. In light of COVID-19’s impact on school openings, MindWise has adapted the SOS curriculum to ensure middle and high school students understand how to identify signs of suicide and depression in themselves and their peers whether at home or in-person, while training school professionals, parents, and community members to recognize at-risk students and take appropriate action.
With guidance from national suicide prevention experts, partners, and members of the National Association of School Psychologists, MindWise has enhanced SOS to best equip students – remotely or in-person – with the critical life skills needed to monitor and respond to changes in their well-being. The program’s video content is now offered in shortened clips to facilitate greater discussion between remote educators and students. A newly filmed introduction orients students to the current circumstances and reiterates the importance of the ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) message in the classroom and at home. At the end of class, SOS now includes a web-based survey tool that notifies school staff instantaneously if a student wants to speak with an adult about any concerns.
Addressing the anxieties and pressures that weigh on the behavioral health of teens and empowering them with tools to understand and express those concerns has always been a key component of SOS. Now that many schools are developing hybrid learning models, the virtualization of SOS is vital to reaching kids at a time when they could need it most. “Socio-emotional learning and mental wellness are parts of education,” says Dr. James Mazza of the University of Washington – Seattle and an expert in adolescent mental health. “We know from enough data that kids who have better social skills and coping strategies tend to have higher levels of mental wellness and to stay in school more – and during these times of virtual learning that’s really important.”
SOS Signs of Suicide is an evidence-based youth suicide prevention program that has demonstrated improvement in students’ knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, while showing a 64% reduction in self-reported suicide attempts. SOS is powered by MindWise Innovations, a service of the nonprofit organization Riverside Community Care.