Signs of Suicide (SOS)

Rippon Middle School Prevention Lesson 2018-2019

October Lesson: SOS

In October 2018, Mrs. Sulyans (School Social Worker) and Ms. Hernandez teamed up for the 7th grade lesson on Signs of Suicide. All of the classes took place in one month. This is a mandated lesson in 7th grade, but we'd like to share the information regarding this lesson for all of our grades.


It's important to teach students strategies on how to help themselves or others who may be in a time of crisis. An outdated fallacy that we often hear, is that if we talk about about a subject then a student may be more susceptible to act on the situation. This is not true. We have to educate our students and teach them signs to be aware of.


Over the month, I found that many students sought help from the counseling department, because they recognized that a friend was in need of additional support. Knowing that PWC's lesson makes a difference in our school is a great feat!


We acknowledge the need to support and also teach our young students prevention signs. We also encourage that you take time to speak to your student about their feelings, and always encourage them to talk to someone if they are in crisis or just need of another supportive professional adult.


Rippon's Student Services team continues to work collaboratively to enhance the on-going services for our students. Our team approach really makes a difference in how we can help our students.

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ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell)

A major component of the SOS class is to teach the students to ACT. They are taught how to ACKNOWLEDGE that their friend may need help. Not necessarily solve the situation, but to help encourage their friend to talk about the situation without judging them.


They are asked to show CARE for their friend. We ask that they stay positive and listen to their friends. Show that someone cares about their well being. Projecting kindness towards someone that is hurting is a good way for your student to show empathy. Caring for one another is essential as they grow into adulthood.


Finally, and the most important piece of prevention is to get the students to TELL someone. We teach the students to not just tell a stranger or a random adult, but someone who is able to seek the help that the student may need.

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Understanding your feelings...7th grade Blues

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We encourage the students to talk about their feelings....

If you need help for yourself, ACT by telling an adult you trust how you feel so you can get help and feel better.


•Reach out to a trusted adult and if that adult doesn’t do anything, then keep telling an adult, until they do something about it.

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We talk to them about how Bullying can affect the life of our students.

Whether it’s in-person or online, if you’re a witness to bullying, don’t be a bystander. ACKNOWLEDGE, CARE AND TELL

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We talk to them briefly about Self-Harming

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•If they know someone who is hurting himself on purpose, do the same thing you would do if you knew they were depressed or suicidal: ACT

•Self injury is when a person hurts their body on purpose without the intention to die.

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How does Drugs and Alcohol affect someone who is depressed?

We also talk to the students about how Drugs and Alcohol may impair and enhance the emotional state, especially when you're going through a lot.


•Alcohol is a drug, and sometimes people abuse alcohol to escape their feelings.

•Depression could be caused by drugs, withdrawals from drugs, substance abuse

•Alcohol may make people feel good, but it acts as a downer in the body and heavy drinking can make your mood unstable.

•Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of suicide. Alcohol is involved in half of all suicides, murders, and accidents.

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We talk to our students about what Depression looks like versus Having a Bad Day.

It's really important for the students to understand the difference between having a rough time, versus waking up every single day knowing that you are not yourself. We want them to understand the difference, and to recognize the signs of depression.


•It can happen due to a chemical imbalance in your brain

•It can run in families-genetic

•Sometimes stressors cause depression

•Sometimes it is a combination of things

•Depression can occur in response to a recent stress or loss, such as problems at school or with the law, the death of a loved one, or relationship troubles

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What do our statistics look like at Rippon??

Statistics at Rippon MS

We had 32 follow ups during the month of October, after each lesson. 5 out of the 32 needed a full screening. In other words, we conducted the full Suicide Risk Screening.


Some of the reasons why the students wanted to follow up:

  • Memories of being bullied
  • Triggered self-harm issues
  • Death in the family and wanted to talk to someone about it
  • Terminally ill family members
  • Family issues/concerns
  • Wanted to talk about Stress
  • Concerned about another peer
  • Needed a full Suicide Assessment after speaking to them about their feelings
  • Wanted to talk about other things going on in their life-not necessarily anything to do w/ Suicidal feelings or SOS
  • A few also checked the wrong box and didn't need follow ups