MHS SOS Presentation

MHS SOS Presentation

Michelle Cordero

With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, MHS provided a Signs of Suicide (SOS) presentation on Monday. This presentation was led by Ms. Viso, the Student Assistance Counselor and some other faculty members who created a safe environment in which students joined the conversation in order to help end the stigma around mental health. When asked about the main issues addressed in the presentation, Ms. Viso responded, “The Counselors and Child Study Team (CST) members are assisting me with presenting and discussing Suicide Awareness and Prevention. The program that we are using is called “Signs of Suicide.” We are covering areas such as warning signs and symptoms, myths, identifying trusted adults, what to do if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts/ideations, and positive coping skills”. They achieved this by engaging with the students and drawing their attention towards the goal of the presentation rather than away from it.

The aftermath of the presentation and the impact they have on students is what truly counts; “With the pandemic, we have noticed a lot of students seeking out help to discuss a variety of concerns and some related to having these thoughts/ideations or knowing someone struggling with mental health. We have found that this presentation helps to break the stigma and fear associated with counseling or talking about suicide and have students seek us out or share concerning posts/texts“. Ms. Viso also shared this when asked what is recommended for people to do in order to move forward, “If someone is seeking help, I recommend to follow the steps of the counselor or service agency. Many times, I hear students not following through with counseling recommendations or upset that it is “taking too long.” Counseling and therapy is not a quick band aid fix. It is a healing process that will require you to just as hard as you would work in school. Most importantly, keep working through your challenges and obstacles. Continue to build positive coping skills and work the steps of your treatment plan. Set achievable goals for yourself and be open to trying new things to help you heal. Having an open mind and wanting the help are the two best things to start with moving forward.” 

When asked about building trust with the students, Ms. Viso added, “To help build trust with students, I try to establish a positive relationship with them and the school overall. I like to attend various school-sponsored events and visit classrooms to engage everyone and let the students know who I am and what my role is. During sessions or meetings, I am genuine and transparent. I try to find ways to relate and connect so it does not feel like it’s actual counseling but more so a conversation”.

Ms. Viso also has a message for those who are struggling but do not feel comfortable seeking out for help. “I would tell them that the bravest thing they can do is ask for help. It may seem scary to open up and let someone know all about your vulnerabilities, the good, the bad, the ugly.. but it is better than keeping everything pushed down inside. I am so happy to see that the stigma associated with mental health is diminishing and people are more open to seeking help. If it helps, bring someone along with you to ask for help or when you see your counselor for the first time. The first step is the hardest but it’s also the strongest one you’ll take on your journey.” Please remember that we see you, we hear you, and we are here for you. You are so loved. Check on your loved ones, and reach out for help if you need it.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255