What would you do if your son came home and said one of his friends was talking about ending his life? What would you do if your daughter started to withdraw from her friends and family, had trouble concentrating in school, slept a lot, and was always angry? Many people would think this is normal teenage behavior. However, what if it wasn’t? Enter the Signs of Suicide Program.
The Signs of Suicide program promotes suicide awareness and prevention in middle schools and high schools throughout the Department of Defense Education Activity, according to Andee Rohwedder, Bitburg-Spangdahlem schools psychologist.
For five years, this program has brought suicide awareness to students and has been teaching them what to look for and how to seek help for themselves or their friends who may be contemplating suicide.
This year 7th, 10th and 12th grade students found themselves broken up into smaller groups, both male and female, to have a more intimate discussion about suicide. The idea was to have them delve more into suicide awareness with an interactive video, scenarios and pamphlets.
“I found it surprising how little we knew about what age groups were more susceptible to suicide,” said Morgan McGrath, a Bitburg Middle High School senior. “It [the program] touched on things we already knew, but this time, it was more engaging.”
Rohwedder said she was glad to take a different approach to a highly emotional and consequential subject. Thinking that the boys’ groups would be her toughest to break their silence, she found them more inclined to talk.
Some students even came up to her after each session to ask questions and request more information on the topic. The only thing she asked in return is that they share this information with their parents, which her students were willing to do.
“The breakout sessions were kind of like a free-for-all,” said Jeneba Hoene another BMHS senior. “I was able to ask questions I wouldn’t have otherwise known.”
To view more information on the SOS program, visit http://bit.ly/1dsuFLx.