DMHAS: CYSPI High School Component

DMHAS Prevention and Health Promotion Unit

CYSPI High School Component

The CYSPI is implementing the Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH) Signs of Suicide (SOS) High School curriculum as: 1) the only school-based suicide prevention program that has been shown to reduce suicidality in a randomized, controlled study (March 2004, American Journal of Public Health); and 2) the first suicide prevention program to be selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services for its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

DMHAS and SMH is working with the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) and the Trumbull Public Schools to implement the SOS curriculum in ninth-grade classrooms in each of CTHSS' seventeen technical high schools (Grasso Southeastern, Platt, Bullard-Havens, Henry Abbott, H.H. Ellis, Eli Whitney, A.I. Prince, Howell Cheney, H.C. Wilcox, Vinal, E.C. Goodwin, Norwich, J.M. Wright, Oliver Wolcott, W.F. Kaynor, Windham, and Emmett O'Brien Technical High School), and the Trumbull High School/Regional Agriscience and Biotechnology Program.  In addition, parents/guardians, family members, caregivers, schools, communities at large, and the agencies, organizations and institutions within these communities across the state will be included in prevention efforts.

The CTHSS is implementing the SOS curriculum designed to:

1.   Decrease the incidence of self-injury, suicide attempts, and the number of youth who die by suicide by increasing knowledge and adaptive attitudes towards depression;

2.   Encourage individual help-seeking behavior;

3.   Link suicide and self-injury to mental illness that, like physical illnesses, require treatment;

4.   Address risk factors for self-injury and suicide;

5.   Engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention;

6.   Reduce stigma associated with mental health problems by integrating them as topics for discussion in the health curriculum as conditions that are responsive to treatment;

7.   Increase self-efficacy and access to mental health services for at-risk youth and their families; and

8.   Increase school/community-based partnerships.

One of the primary risk factors for youth suicide is exposure to other teenagers who have died by suicide, therefore, the CYSPI has identified the Connecticut towns that have experienced one or more youth suicide(s) of 11-17 year-olds within the last five years based on Office of Child Advocate data.

Forty-two (42) youth suicides in 33 towns have occurred October 2001-November 2006, and six towns have experienced multiple suicides: Bridgeport (3), Newtown (2), Meriden (4), Southington (3), Simsbury (2), and Wallingford (2).

Map of CTHSS schools, Trumbull High School, and DCF - Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service Agencies.

Articles of Interest:

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Content Last Modified on 8/19/2010 10:20:26 AM