|GREATER SPRINGFIELD The American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has produced a film project that aims to educate high school students about depression. |
Since the majority of suicides are caused by untreated or inadequately treated depression, it is AFSP's hope that by teaching adolescents to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and others, suicide deaths among teenagers in Massachusetts and nationwide will decrease.
The project consists of two separate 25-minute DVDs that will include Internet and collateral materials. The first film, "More Than Sad: Teen Depression," is now available and features four character vignettes, each designed to present to teens a recognizable picture of depression, reduce fears and misconceptions about treatment, and promote help-seeking behavior: "Lana," a 14-year-old Hispanic girl with a melancholic depression; "Ray," a 16-year-old African-American boy with anxiety and depression; "Jake," a 15-year-old Caucasian boy with a violent temper and a drinking problem accompanying his depression; and "Delia," a 16-year-old depressed Caucasian girl who is chronically bullied and experiences an acute episode.
A second film, "More Than Sad: A Guide to Preventing Teen Suicide," is also available, which will educate teachers and other school personnel about the causes of youth suicide, warning signs and steps they can take to get help for students.
Key messages to teachers include paying close attention to any observed behavioral changes in their students, speaking to those students, and referring those who may be suffering from a mental disorder to a nurse or school counselor.
The film also encourages teachers to familiarize themselves with their own school's referral and crisis policies.
Both films stress that the first step kids should take if they think they are depressed is to talk to their parents or another trusted adult.
Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 18, with adolescent depression being the leading cause.
For more information about this project or to arrange a showing please contact Linda J. Shippie at 788-7420 or visit www.morethansad.org.
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