Prevention Programs for Middle and High Schools

SOS : Signs of Suicide Prevention Programs SOS : Signs of Suicide Prevention Programs

SOS Signs of Suicide is a 2-day secondary school-based intervention that includes screening and education. Students are screened for depression and suicide risk and referred for professional help as indicated. Students also view a video that teaches them to recognize signs of depression and suicide in others. They are taught that the appropriate response to these signs is to acknowledge them, let the person know you care, and tell a responsible adult (either with the person or on that person’s behalf). Students also participate in guided classroom discussions about suicide and depression. The intervention attempts to prevent suicide attempts, increase knowledge about suicide and depression, develop desirable attitudes toward suicide and depression, and increase help-seeking behavior.


To find out how your Kentucky school district can qualify for a free middle or high school kit, please click on links below, or contact Kentucky SOS program coordinator Jan Ulrich at jan.ulrich@ky.gov or (502) 564-4456.


Having the Hard Conversation

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If your child talks about dying and not wanting to live anymore or is continuously down and not doing any of the things she enjoy, you must start talking to her about suicide. This is a hard conversation topic for anyone. Some people think talking about suicide causes suicide to occur. That is not true. In fact, talking about suicide can be an excellent prevention tool. People who are not suicidal reject the idea, and people who may be thinking about it often welcome the chance to talk. They feel someone else recognizes their pain.


As a parent, you must accept the possibility that your child may be at risk of suicide. Then, ask these questions:

  • dAre you thinking about suicide?
  • dAre you thinking about killing yourself?
  • dDo you have a plan?
  • dDo you have the means to do it (a way to do it)?

If your child answers yes to these questions, you need to get help immediately, do not leave your child alone. Reassure her that help is available and that you will assist her in finding the right help. Be careful you do not take over and try to ‘fix’ things for your child.


Making significant changes can be a long process and there will be some bumps along the way. The journey begins with a conversation. It will take courage, time, space, patience and skill to start this conversation.



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Gatekeepers are trained to know the signs of suicide and how to talk to a person about them and then guide them to the help they need. Gatekeepers become trained through QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training. This training can take as little as 90 minutes.

QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer. It is an educational program that teaches ordinary citizens how to recognize a mental health emergency and how to get a person at risk the help they need.


Gatekeepers include neighbors, parents, friends, teachers, squad leaders, foremen, doctors, police officers, ministers, firefighters,  advisors, nurses, caseworkers, office supervisors, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.


Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.


As a QPR-trained Gatekeeper you will learn to:

  • dRecognize the warning signs of suicide.
  • dIdentify risk factors associated with suicide and attempts.
  • dKnow how to offer hope.
  • dAsk the question.
  • dKnow how to get help.

Please consider joining in the action plan to save lives in Kentucky. Gatekeeper training presentations can be adapted to your particular need, including content and length. Click an area close to you on the map for upcoming QPR meetings and events. You may also request more information about QPR and other ways to help prevent suide by sending a request to:kspginc@gmail.com


More Information

Resource materials are available to assist QPR Trainers in their training and teaching procedures. For more information, please send a request to: kspginc@gmail.com

Sign Up

Sign Up for Email Updates: The “QPR Trainer” ListServe is for all QPR Trainers and provides interaction around QPR trainer specific information; if you are a QPR Trainer it is vital that you subscribe to this listserv to stay current with QPR training requirements, data, and practice communications–only QPR Trainers will be allowed to subscribe to this list.  Names on this list are not shared with any other group. To be added to the QPR Trainer ListServe, please send a request to: kspginc@gmail.com


Suicide Prevention Training & Resources for Educators

Dr. Eric Johnson

Click on the link below for information regarding Kentucky secondary school-based suicide prevention laws, program and resource listing from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.


School-based Suicide Prevention