The adolescent years are marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions – difficult for youths, their parents and educators.  It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression (among the most common of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at a much earlier age.  Depression – which is treatable – is a leading risk factor for suicide.  In addition, self-injury has become a growing problem among youth.


To proactively address these issues, Benton Middle School is offering depression awareness and suicide prevention training as part of the SOS Signs of Suicide® Prevention Program.  The program has proven to be successful at increasing help seeking by students concerned about themselves or a friend and is the only school-based suicide prevention program listed by SAMHSA for its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression, while reducing suicide attempts.  In a randomized control study, the SOS high school program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40% (BMC Public Health, July 2007).


Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:

  • 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 in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or a friend.
  • To impress upon youth 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.

Benton Middle School’s Social Worker, Christina Devers and School Counselor Kostas Zourzoukis, will be presenting the SOS program to 7th grade students on November 26 & 27, 2018.  

If you do not wish for your child to participate in the SOS Middle School program, please indicate this on the permission slip that will be sent home through home room classes and return it to Mrs. Devers no later than November 1, 2018.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Mrs. Devers at 703-791-0727 or via email at