At Grayslake Middle School, we believe it is important to            focus on the whole student  by paying close attention to the emotions that are often associated with teen years.  These years are marked by a roller coaster of emotions, which may be difficult for teens.  It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double.  At GMS, we have implemented a variety of programs on mental health education and suicide prevention for students, faculty and staff.

This year we have been implanting the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program to our 7th and 8th grade students.  This is the only school-based suicide prevention program selected by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for its National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices that addresses suicide risk and depression, while reducing suicide attempts.  The SOS Program is presented to us through Elyssa’s Mission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention.  Elyssa’s Mission is the only organization in the state of Illinois to fund, distribute and implement SOS.  To get more information on suicide prevention, visit their website at www.elyssasmission.org

Our goals at GMS in participating in this program are straightforward:

  • To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness, and help them assess whether or not they may have symptoms consistent with depression

  • To impress upon teens that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns

  • To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreatable depression