For Immediate Release - March 30, 2010

D.A. Blodgett Sponsors Teen Suicide Prevention Program For Middle And High School Educators

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among children in America. According the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, 60% of high school students have thought about committing suicide, and approximately 9% have tried killing themselves at least once.

In an effort to address these tragic statistics, Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett, in collaboration with Screening for Mental Health, Inc., will host a suicide prevention program for middle and high school educators in the library of his office at 10 Federal Street in Salem on two different dates.

The high school training will take place from 8:30 a.m. - noon on Tuesday, April 6, and the training for middle school educators will take place from 8:30 - noon on Tuesday, April 13. The media are encouraged to attend.

"It is imperative that we help train educators and parents to recognize the danger signs of adolescent suicide to prevent further tragedies," said District Attorney Blodgett. "In turn, they will bring this issue to the forefront with their students and children. Our children's lives are precious, and they need to understand that people love them, there is always help, and suicide is never the answer."

The training, known as SOS, Signs of Suicide ® will help school officials learn how to effectively implement the nationally recognized program, how to identify the warning signs of suicide and depression, how to reduce suicide attempts, and how to involve parents, school personnel and community-based organizations in this critically important effort.

The SOS Program ® also teaches students how to identify the symptoms in themselves or their friends, and encourages them to seek help through the use of the ACT ® technique, (Acknowledge, Care, Tell).

Each school district will receive one high school and one middle school SOS kit, which includes the implementation guide, educational DVD, Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD), parent resources, staff materials, student newsletters, and posters and wallet cards.

For more information please contact Ruth Budelmann at 978-745-6610, ext. 5086, or Mariellen Fidrych at 978-745-6610, ext. 5085, in the District Attorney's Juvenile Justice Unit.

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