Whether teens express thoughts of suicide in a text message, a conversation after school, or Facebook chat, they often confide in their peers. When a friend opens up and shares such powerful feelings, it can be tempting to keep their secret. No one wants to betray the confidence of a friend, especially one in such a vulnerable place–but it is imperative that teenagers understand the life or death importance of reaching out for help when a friend shares suicidal thoughts.

Breaking the silence and encouraging teens to seek help from parents and professionals are two cornerstones of Elyssa’s Mission’s work in the field of suicide prevention and education. Elyssa’s Mission trains secondary school staff to deliver the SOS Signs of Suicide® Program, an evidence-based program shown to reduce self-reported suicide attempts by 40% (BMC Public Health 2007). The SOS program combines an educational, discussion-based component with screening to identify teens who are depressed and help them get treatment, subsequently preventing suicide.

Adolescence is an especially vulnerable time.  It can truly take a village to provide support for teens struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression. Through the SOS program, teenagers learn that they are not alone. Elyssa’s Mission provides the resources to support at risk teens and prevent suicide, ultimately, Creating a Safer Today for our Youth®.

To learn more about the SOS Signs of Suicide program, please visit our website at ElyssasMission.org/programs/sos/.