Screening for Mental Health

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. Releases New Video on Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention

"Time to ACT" teaches young people about depression and offers vital intervention tools

Screening for Mental Health, Inc. is officially launching "Time to ACT," the newest video component of the SOS Signs of Suicide® Middle School Program.

The SOS program teaches students that depression is a treatable illness. Through the use of "Time to Act" and its accompanying discussion guide, students are taught that suicide is not a normal response to stress, but rather a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression. Students are given specific action steps, encouraged to engage in a discussion about these issues with their parents as well as utilize the peer-to-peer help-seeking model known as ACT® (Acknowledge-Care-Tell). Acknowledge that there is a problem, tell the friend that you Care, and most importantly, Tell a trusted adult.

"Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for youth in the U.S. However, the emotional crises that so often precede suicide are both recognizable and treatable, and good prevention programs can teach youth how to recognize the symptoms of depression, in themselves or a friend," said Douglas G. Jacobs, M.D., associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and medical director of Screening for Mental Health, Inc.

"Time to Act" features various scenes, including students seated around a table discussing mental health topics, one-on-one conversations between a high school student and a trusted adult, and educational vignettes modeling how to respond to a friend using the ACT technique. Other components of the SOS program include student and parent educational materials as well as gatekeeper training materials for faculty and staff.

Schools and organizations interested in hosting a mental health awareness event in the coming weeks or months can register online to receive free access to "Time to Act" and an event-specific facilitator guide. To view of trailer of "Time to Act" visit

The SOS Middle School Program is modeled on the SOS High School Program, the only school-based suicide prevention program listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 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 program showed a reduction in self-reported suicide attempts by 40% (BMC Public Health, July 2007).

Screening for Mental Health Inc. (SMH) is the non-profit organization that first introduced the concept of large-scale mental health screenings with its flagship program, National Depression Screening Day, in 1991. SMH programs include both in-person and online programs for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, alcohol problems, and suicide prevention. SMH programs have been used by hospitals, mental health centers, social service agencies, government agencies, older adult facilities, primary care clinicians, colleges, secondary schools, corporations and military installations reaching individuals ranging from adolescents to older adults.

Categories: Public Schools

Tags: Depression, prevention, suicide

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Christine Leccese
Screening for Mental Health
Screening for Mental Health
1 Washington St.
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United States