The Signs of Suicide Program

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Introduction
This evaluation critique is focused on the article: “An Outcome Evaluation of the SOS Suicide Prevention Program,” by Robert H. Aseltine Jr, and Robert DeMartino. Based on their evaluation, the authors (2004) conclude that the SOS program was successful as “significantly lower rates of suicide attempts and greater knowledge and more adaptive attitudes about depression and suicide were observed among students in the intervention group” (p. 446).
Program Background
The Signs of Suicide (SOS) program is an educational approach in reducing suicidal behaviors among students. It is school-based preventative program that “incorporates two prominent suicide prevention strategies into a single program by combining curricula to raise awareness of suicide and its related issues with a brief screening for depression and other risk factors associated with suicidal behavior” (D & L., 1999, p. 70). The SOS program offers a series of advantages over the other programs. Besides introducing students with suicide prevention information, “self-screening techniques and peer support establishment are essential attributes to the SOS program” (Aseltine & DeMartino, 2004, p. 446). It can also be implemented with “minimal staff training and that the program does not unduly burden teachers, counselors, or administrative staff” (Aseltine, 2003).
Research Design
Aseltine and DeMartino (2004) evaluate the effectiveness of the SOS program conducted during the 2001–2002 school year in 5 high schools in Hartford, Connecticut, and Columbus, Georgia. The research question is “Whether the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program is effective in reducing suicidal behavior in high school students.” The data sample included “2100 public school student...

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...d effective to, at least, expand knowledge on depression and suicidal behavior of students, and reduce suicidal rate in a short-run. However, as the authors (2004) have pointed out at the end of discussion, based on the history, suicide prevention programs in general have little efficacy and are difficult to measure. As a result, understanding the long-term impact and other potential measures of the SOS program will likely require other longitudinal outcome evaluations.

Works Cited
Aseltine, R. H. (2003). An Evaluation of a School-Based Suicide Prevention Program. Adolescent & Family Health, 2: 81–88.
Aseltine, R. H., & DeMartino, R. (2004). An Outcome Evaluation of the SOS Suicide Prevention Program. American Journal of Public Health, 446-451.
D, S., & L., C. (1999). Methods of adolescent suicide prevention. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(suppl 2):70-4.

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