Break down barriers and stigmas surrounding mental health issues and youth suicide by providing ongoing peer-to-peer support, strategies and resources to all students related to maintaining mental health, reducing depression and other forms of unhealthy living.
Given the continued high rates of “teens in crisis” and suicide among adolescents and young adults, Lake Orion Community Schools has initiated a promising and innovative program of student-to-student support. A key to addressing these issues is to get students involved in a unified effort to help each other. The goal of the SOS (Students Offering Support) program is to have an ongoing student-to-student system of support in place to provide help to anyone in crisis. Superintendent Marion Ginopolis said it is clear that our students want to be part of the solution and, if they are not involved, the district is underutilizing a valuable resource.
Based on a desire to help their peers, more than 250 student volunteers have now been empowered as part of the SOS team to create a culture of awareness about teen crises and break down the barriers and stigmas surrounding mental health issues and youth suicide. In all-day sessions, the SOS team is trained by adult advisors on the team, including the superintendent, administrators, counselors and high school/ middle school staff members. The goals of the training are to recognize signs of mental health distress (e.g. depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and substance abuse) and then understand the steps involved in helping someone in need get help. This training also includes how to effectively present this information to their peers. Now in its second year, the SOS team has gone from class-to-class multiple times, educating more than 3,500 students at Lake Orion’s high school and middle schools about crisis warning signs and valuable information and resources about how and where to seek help.
For further information about the SOS program, contact Superintendent Marion Ginopolis (248-693-5414) or LOHS Counselor Michele Novak (248-693-5638)