A support program implemented in Columbia County high schools is now being introduced to middle schools.
Sources of Strength gives students the skills to help their peers going through tough times.
The students are training to use their strengths to help themselves, if they’re going through a hard time, as well as their peers to connect them with trusted adults.
For some students, it’s making time for themselves.
Grovetown High School Student, Brianna Ladiero, says, “Junior year everyone says that’s the big, scary, horror year. So, I definitely saw a lot of my friends struggling and myself, too. It’s really hard to get school work some and extra curricular’s and really just consider yourself.”
For other students, it’s making time for those at school who need a listening ear.
Grovetown High School Student, Daelon Jordan, says, “she was very quiet and very to herself at lunch time. So, I invited her over and talked to two of my friends and so on, and so on…”
Brianna and Daelon have seen sources of strength build up their class mates in ways they didn’t realize could help.
Columbia County’s school psychologist, Jason Linticum, says there’s been an increase in suicide rates. He saw the need to bring the program inside schools.
“We know that students, who are even contemplating suicide, are much more likely to tell their peers before they ever tell an adult,” says Linticum.
This is something Daelon saw first hand.
“She was like at the peak of depression. So, I talked her down out of doing a lot of bad things, and I had sent her to another teacher and now she’s doing a lot better,” says Jordan.
Linticum says he wants to students to feel comfortable talking about those ‘hard-to-discuss’ issues.
“It does directly deal with suicide prevention, but it’s really a lot more than that. It’s about substance abuse, it’s about dating violence,” says Linticum.
The students say they are happy to see the program expanding.
“You see it, just little things throughout the day. Kids really thinking you know, ‘how can I be generous? How can I be kind to someone? How can I help someone today?’,” says Ladiero.
The students will continue to meet throughout the year and share other positive messages with the rest of the school. They will also shed light on mental health.