School starts SOS program

Mara Gee, Editor

Pencil lays on BSAD Exam
Sam Ricks
A copy of the Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) Olathe South students were able to take on Monday, Sept. 17.

On Monday, Sept. 17, there was a schoolwide, hour long advisory for the purpose of raising awareness about the potential signs of suicidal students and how students can prevent a classmate from possibly committing suicide.

Advisory was scheduled after a 39 minute first period, in which a 22 minute long video was shown. The video stressed the importance of recognizing signs of suicide in classmates and friends; some of those being sudden drinking, intense feelings of loss, promiscuity, dabbling in drugs, petty theft, etc.

Should students see these signs in a friend, they are advised to tell a trusted adult, keep them from being alone, stay away from assuming that threats are “just blowing of steam,” and not to misinterpret their behavior as an attitude problem.

A self-evaluation questionnaire was handed out. It gave students a chance to reflect on their own behavior in the past month to determine whether or not they showed signs of depression.

After the evaluation, students were able to fill out an appointment slip in the event that they needed to speak to a certified psychologist about personal matters or concern for a peer.

The library was closed for students who were in need of someone to talk to after the lesson. Licensed clinicians from Johnson County Mental Health and other district personnel were invited to advise students. Not one person who was invited declined the offer.

This newly implemented is called Signs of Suicide (S.O.S.), which is a nationally recognized program that the district requires high schools to partake in. Monday was the first time any of the Olathe high schools tried the program.

“I’ve always been outspoken about mental health and suicide awareness, because it seems like every year we have a teenager commit suicide,” Jean Busey, counselor, said.

She also cited that Johnson County has the highest suicide rates in Kansas and Kansas holds higher suicide rates than the entire nation.

Another concern Busey has is that sometimes mental illness is put on the backburner as students in general seem more in tune with physical health rather than mental health.