This post was submitted by Lake Orion Community Schools
More than 180 students at Lake Orion High School packed this month’s kickoff of the Students Offering Support (SOS) activities for the 2013-14 school year.
The group’s goal is to create a culture of awareness among students about teen crises and then encouraging persons get help. This is done by breaking down the barriers and stigmas attached to teen mental health issues and youth suicide through peer-to-peer support, according to a presentation given by SOS advisors.
“It’s so important to have someone to talk to and willing to listen,” said teacher John Miles, who spoke at the kickoff meeting.
Assistant Principal Chris Bell charged the students in attendance to look for opportunities everyday to help classmates. “As part of the SOS program, I expect you to walk through these halls with your eyes wide open and taking purposeful actions to make the lives of others better,” he said.
Teacher Andy Schremek added, “Everyone deserves to have a really good high school experience and you can make a difference.”
Counselor Michele Novak was impressed with the student turnout for the kickoff meeting. When the SOS group was first launched a year ago, 12 kids signed up to participate.
“I guess word-of-mouth works, with our kids really having a positive experience last year and sharing it with their friends,” she said. “There were very few empty seats at the kickoff.”
The next step for students who register is a day-long training program that focuses on one-to-one communications skills, signs to look out for when a teen may be struggling with depression or other mental health issue, and the process for getting that person help from counselors and professionals as quickly as possible.
For more information on the SOS program, call Ms. Novak at 248-693-5638.