Sources of Strength: Preventing Suicide among High School Students through Peer Leadership and Adult Mentoring
Sources of Strength is a program that trains diverse high school students to serve as peer leaders and connects them with adult advisors at school and in the community. With support from the advisors, the peer leaders conduct well-defined messaging activities intended to change peer group norms influencing coping practices and problem behaviors (e.g., self-harm, drug use, unhealthy sexual practices). An evaluation of the program in 18 high schools found that the curriculum led to changes in peer leaders’ coping practices and connectedness with adults and to changes in norms of students in the school population. The norms most strongly enhanced were the acceptability of seeking help from adults and students’ perceptions that adults in their school could provide help to suicidal students.
This webinar will highlight the critical aspects of the Sources of Strength program, which could be replicated in other settings. It will also describe an effective approach to program evaluation. Specific attention will be given to enhancing protective factors associated with suicide at the school population level.
By the end of the webinar participants will be able to:
1. Describe the key elements of the Sources of Strength Program and understand how it works to decrease suicide risk.
2. Understand how data was collected and utilized to improve the program.
3. Know how one community benefitted from implementing the program.
4. Identify methods for adopting or adapting the strategies, approaches, and tools of the Sources of Strength Program for use in their own communities.
Mark LoMurray, Founder and Executive Director, Sources of Strength
Diane Rosado, Peer Leader, Sources of Strength
Laura Rundell, Health Teacher and Program Leader, Elmira Free Academy
Peter A. Wyman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester School of Medicine