Suicide: A Growing Concern for American Youth

According to a 2015 report from the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13 to 18 years of age experiences a seriously debilitating mental disorder at some point during their adolescence. Troubling statistics from the 2013 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey revealed 17% of youth seriously considered suicide in the previous year and more than 13% made a plan.

Our nation’s youth are suffering with one of the most painful and debilitating illnesses. Depression can leave youth feeling worthless, guilty, and devoid of hope. Mental health is not often a popular topic of conversation due to stigma and fear, leaving students afraid to talk about these serious feelings.

With Screening for Mental Health’s SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Programs, youth starting as early as middle school and into high school are taught to identify signs and symptoms of depression, suicidality, and self-injury in themselves, and their peers, and to seek out help from a trusted adult. In a randomized controlled study, the SOS High School Program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40%. Schools across the nation utilize this program to educate students about mental health and identify at-risk youth and connect them with treatment.


Interested in training champions for youth suicide prevention in your community?

The SOS Signs of Suicide Certified Training Institute offers a comprehensive two-day course designed to prepare you to guide school staff and individuals from other youth serving organizations in implementation of the nationally recognized SOS Program. Once you have completed this training, you will have the skills needed to:

  • Deliver customizable suicide prevention trainings for school staff implementing the SOS Program, parents, and community gatekeepers
  • Advise school staff on best practices for implementing the SOS Program and providing gatekeeper trainings for parents and other trusted adults in their community
  • Encourage school staff to advocate for youth suicide prevention education and screening

The Certified Training Institute is well suited for individuals who wish to encourage and support universal suicide prevention programming for youth. Certified Trainers are often employed by social service agencies, prevention organizations, or serve as suicide prevention advocates and volunteers.They commonly have a background in youth programming, prevention work, mental health, social work, or advocacy. Certified trainers typically go on to provide 3-5 SOS Program trainings in their areas, annually.


Your Impact as a Certified Trainer:

As a certified trainer you will play a critical role in establishing a network of adults across the United States who are prepared to act when at-risk students need it the most. You’ll have the chance to help communities bridge the gap between the number of students who are living with an undiagnosed mental health condition and the local treatment services they have available to them. Want to help our nation take the next step toward a comprehensive mental health strategy?

Email us at if you are interested in becoming a certified trainer or hosting a training in your area.

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.
– Plutarch