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SOS/SAFE Program--Middle School

October 4, 2017

Dear Parent or Guardian:

The adolescent years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions. It is easy to misread depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression seems to be occurring at a much earlier age.  Depression (which is treatable) is a risk factor for suicide. To proactively address this issue, Whitewright Middle School is offering depression awareness and suicide prevention training as part of the Signs of Suicide(SOS) Prevention Program for 6th and 8th grade students, and SAFE—Join the Conversation (presented by the Grant Halliburton Foundation) for 7th grade students.

Our goals in participating in these programs are:

  • To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness
  • To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression
  • To provide students training on how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or a friend
  • To impress upon students that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns
  • To help students know whom in the school they can turn to for help if they need it

The SOS program that will be presented to 6th and 8th grades consists of a video that shows students several scenarios that might happen involving adolescent depression.  It also models for students the right and wrong ways to respond and seek adult help.  The SAFE program for 7th grade is a program that will be presented by a representative from the Grant Halliburton Foundation, and covers the same points as SOS.  After each program, a brief depression screening will be administered to the students.  This does not diagnose depression, it is simply a tool to screen for possible signs of depression in students.  If your child does exhibit signs of depression based on the screening, you will be contacted so that you may take them for further assessment with a medical professional.

The Grant Halliburton Foundation will present the SAFE program to 7th grade on October 13. I will present the Signs of Suicide (SOS) to 6th and 8th grades the following week.  All students will participate unless a parent requests that they do not.  If you do not wish for your child to participate, please contact the school in writing by Thursday, October 12.

Thank you,



Kelli Myracle

WMS Counselor

(903) 364-2155, ext. 202

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