Depression Awareness & Suicide Prevention
In an emergency, call 911 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) deputy or officer.
There also are resources available 24 hours, 7 days a week for youth experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts or other behavioral crises. Through Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Developmental Services, help is available at 703-777-0320 for youth experiencing an immediate and severe emotional crisis. The Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center, located at 102 Heritage Way, Leesburg, Virginia, is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily, and mental health professionals are available for anyone in crisis.
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Life is often a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with teen years being especially susceptible to wide variations in mood. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression is among the most common disorders in youth. Suicide is directly related to mental illness, typically depression, and is one of the most serious public health problems facing our youth. Over 90% of youth who die by suicide have a mental disorder that is often undiagnosed or untreated. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 11 to 18 year old youth, and there are often warning signs that are overlooked to prevent these tragedies.
The LCPS Depression Awareness Suicide Prevention program is based on the SOS Signs of Suicide® Suicide Prevention Program, a universal school-based suicide prevention program that has demonstrated a significant reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40-64% (Aseltine et al., 2007 & Schilling et al., 2016). Through classroom instruction and an educational video using vignettes, students are taught to recognize the signs of depression, self-injury, and suicide in themselves or their friends and to respond effectively using the help-seeking technique known as ACT (Acknowledge-Care-Tell).
Our goals for this program are straightforward:
- To teach our students to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression, self-injurious behavior, and potential suicidality in themselves and others
- To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness
- To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in a friend,
- To educate students that suicide is a preventable tragedy, not a normal response to stress, that often occurs as a result of untreated depression
- To encourage help-seeking among our students by teaching them how to respond if they have concerns about potentially suicidal friend