GEORGETOWN — A new training to help middle and high school students in Georgetown County detect signs of suicide is expected to start in January in efforts to provide more emotional support programs in public schools.
Georgetown County School District hopes the digital program — Signs of Suicide — will help students learn how to respond and report information if a friend or classmate shows signs of depression or emotional distress.
“Their peers know more than we do,” said Michael Caviris, GCSD executive director for special services. “It is GCSD’s goal to have all students in the middle and high school participate and gain a better understanding of the signs of suicide and depression.”
Geared toward middle and high school students, the training can either be face-to-face or in a virtual format, Caviris said.
According to the SOS website, the program teaches students signs of depression and suicide in both themselves and their peers. It also trains school officials and parents how to recognize at-risk students and take action, the website states.
School principals learned about the program during the December joint principals meeting and the district plans to use its websites, school letters, social media and guidance departments to let students, teachers, parents and guardians know about the program, Caviris said.
Caviris said he hopes the program will reduce the stigma of mental health, build a stronger sense of community at the school level and provide support to students and staff who are experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts.
“Ultimately (we want to) meet the needs of our students in various ways and to provide the necessary guidance and support for all to lead a healthy life,” Caviris said.