The Independence School District is committed to providing the best educational environment by supporting all students academically and emotionally. The ISD offers lessons on healthy social and coping skills as part of the Ride the Waves Program for all elementary students and depression awareness and suicide prevention training as part of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program for all middle and high school students.

The Riding the Waves Program includes a series of lessons focused on identifying sources of stress and learning healthy ways of coping. While the lessons do not directly address suicide, they were built on the premise that having these skills in one’s toolbox can help when life presents challenges and hardships.

The SOS Program is a school-based curriculum and screening program that increases knowledge about suicide and depression and encourages students to seek help if they are concerned about themselves or a friend.

Acknowledge, Care, Tell

Students are taught to employ the ACT message when they are worried about a friend:

  • Acknowledge that you are seeing signs of depression and it is serious
  • Let your friend know that you care about them and that you are concerned that they need help you cannot provide
  • Tell a trusted adult

Our goals in participating in the SOS Program are:

  • To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness
  • To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression
  • To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicide risk in themselves or a friend
  • To impress upon youth that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a trusted adult about their concerns
  • To teach students who they can turn to at school for help


Open communication at home can be key to identifying changes with your child as well as helping them cope with stress in their life. Here are some tips to start meaningful conversations with your child if you notice a change in their mood or behavior:

  1. Ask open-ended questions.
  2. Don’t rush to solve their problems. Instead, ask your child what they think will help the situation.
  3. Make sure your child knows you are available.
  4. Try talking in the car. The relaxed atmosphere makes it easier for some kids to speak honestly.

Additional Parent Resources:
SOS Parent Information
SOS Parent Training

SOS Parent Newsletter
SOS Parent Newsletter (Spanish)
SOS Parent Screening Form

Thank you for partnering with us to ensure all students feel safe, supported and ready to learn. If you have any questions, please contact your school counselor.