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The Signs of Suicide Program should include all grade levels, rather than solely sophomore students

Suicide is a growing issue among teens today, and as students it’s becoming more prevalent in our lives with each passing yearl. As the American Psychological Association pins stress from school as a large factor in causing depression and suicidal thoughts in teens, a question needs to be asked: are schools doing enough to fight the issue of suicide? What must schools do to alleviate the problems that arise with teen depression?

Given the serious nature of the topic, Redondo has responded by implementing the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program. This program offers training to teachers and students on recognizing signs of suicidal thoughts within fellow students and teens, and also teaches methods on how to get help and prevent someone from committing suicide. This is a great step and I’m glad that Redondo is making this decision to combat suicide.

There is, although, a caveat: the program is only being implemented for sophomore students. While sophomores were assigned to watch videos on preventing suicide and recognizing signs, the freshmen and upper-classmen who remained in their classrooms were not given any info on the subject nor the program. While it’s great the school is trying to address and prevent suicide in the sophomore class, why aren’t  the other three grades that also go to Redondo Union being addressed?

Considering that suicide and depression is an issue that affects all grade levels and teens, the program should be implemented towards all students and classes instead of being focused on sophomore students. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the youth suicide rate has hit an all-time high, rising 25% for all teens ages 13-17 since 2009 alone. With such enormous growth in the youth and teen suicide rate, why should we only combat it within one grade? It’s strange to think that the upper-classmen who deal with more responsibilities and stress regarding their future are  ignored, not to mention the freshmen who are just trying to figure out how to get through high school.

However, The main issue isn’t necessarily the limited implementation of the program, but that schools continue to ignore their own role in leading teens into depression and suicidal thoughts. One of the biggest precursors of depression is high stress levels, and the most common cause of teen stress is reported to be school, according to the American Psychological Association. Due to pressures from school, grades, and getting into college, teen stress levels are recorded to average higher than adult stress levels. terrible sleep habits teens may developed from school conditions can increase stress levels. Teens who get under the recommended eight hours of sleep are considered at high risk of depression and suicidal thoughts, yet only fifteen percent of teens are able to get this recommended amount of sleep after doing homework and studying, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

While I completely respect and commend the implementation of SOS for sophomores and teachers, our school hasn’t even fought half the battle yet. If we truly want to make a change against this epidemic, we need to tackle the issue in all grades. We need new approaches to education and ways to ensure that students never feel overwhelmed and get enough sleep. Our school has just made a great step against suicide, but now it’s time to finish the fight.