Know the Signs Programs

SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

Say Something

Safety Assessment and Intervention

Start with hello

Know the signs



Training for students and adults about the warning signs of youth suicide and how to intervene before violence or self-harm occurs. All training is paid for by Sandy Hook Promise.

SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program Fact Sheet

Training Fact Sheet


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for American teenagers and many adolescents suffer in silence. Those who reach out for help tend to confide in their friends and peers, who are often unequipped to intervene. By teaching middle and high school students to recognize the warning signs of depression and suicide, we are building their capacity for empathy, social responsibility, and social activism, leading to safer schools and communities, and providing them with vital knowledge they can use for the rest of their lives.

Suicide is preventable; everyone has a role in saving lives. Youths have a tremendous amount of influence in each other's lives, and we can leverage power that by teaching students the warning signs of depression and suicide. In doing so, youths are empowered to ACT, building safer schools and communities.


At its core, the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS Program) relies on three easy-to-remember steps, denoted by the acronym ACT:

  • Acknowledge that you are seeing warning signs and that it is serious
  • Care let your friend know how much you care about them
  • Tell a trusted adult that you are worried about your friend

The SOS program uses an educational curriculum to teach students to recognize the symptoms of depression and suicide, and can be implemented by existing school personnel within one class period. The main teaching tool is a video that shows dramatizations and real life stories of hope about the right and wrong ways to react when a friend exhibits certain behaviors. The program includes a mental health self-assessment that screens every student for depression and suicide. The program also includes training and educational materials for faculty, staff and parents.

An enlightened student body means earlier detection and increased help-seeking behavior. Research has shown that the SOS Program, which is listed on SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, improves students' knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, and reduces actual suicide attempts by 40%-64% in randomized controlled studies (Aseltine et al., 2007 & Schilling et al., 2016).


The SOS Program is designed for all middle and high school students. Additionally, school faculty and staff, parents, and community members receive training as trusted adults who have a critical role in reducing stigma, promoting help-seeking and responding to youth in need.


Evidence-based suicide prevention programming benefits the entire community. Students and school staff learn critical and potentially life-saving skills, parents are encouraged to advocate for their children's health, and the community becomes more resilient overall.


Students learn:

  • Age-appropriate, fact-based information about suicide and the associated mental health concerns of depression, substance use, and self-injury
  • Messages of hope that encourage help-seeking because mental illness, like physical illness, requires treatment
  • Clear steps to take when worried about themselves or a friend (ACT: Acknowledge, Care, Tell)

Schools receive guidance on:

  • Best practices in suicide prevention including universal student education and depression screening
  • Training for faculty and staff on warning signs, risk factors, and how to support a student in need
  • Strategies and tools for engaging parents in suicide prevention in-person and online


Contact for more information.



Training for children and teens on how to recognize signs, especially in social media, of an individual who may be a threat to them self or others and say something to a trusted adult to get them help.


Say Something Training Fact Sheet

Training Fact Sheet


Over the last 25 years, research has revealed that in 7 out of 10 acts of gun violence, a friend(s) were told that an act of violence would be committed or may take place. In one study, it was reported that in 4 out of 5 school shootings, the attacker had told people of his plans ahead of time.

The problem is that no one is taking action with this information to stop the act of violence before it starts. Imagine if one of those people took action. How many tragedies could be prevented? How many lives would be saved?


Say Something is an education and awareness program that provides tools and practices to:

  • Recognize the signs & signals of a potential threat – especially in social media
  • Teach and instill in participants how to take action
  • Drive awareness and reinforce the need to Say Something 


Parents, students, educators, administrators, community-based organizations and other adults who come into contacts with children. The program is designed in a manner for training, promotion and implementation in schools, libraries and local community based organizations as well as in-home.


Say Something will benefit children age 10+, educators, administrators and community based organization leaders as well as parents. By building a culture of “looking out for one another” and reporting possible threats of violence when someone sees, reads or hears something (especially within social media), entire communities will become safer and lives will be saved.


Say Something informs and educates about observable warning signs (written, spoken, photographed, in video) that are often present in behavior that could lead to someone hurting themselves or others as well as educates individuals on how to safely and anonymously report potential threats. Additionally, the program provides tools on how best to promote and reinforce Say Something.


Sign up online or contact for more information.




Training for schools and community organizations on how to identify, assess and respond to threatening behaviors before they escalate to violence.

Safety Assessment & Intervention Training Fact Sheet

Training Fact Sheet


Each year, there are approximately 500,000 acts of gun-related violence including crime, suicide and accidental shooting. SHP believes all gun violence is preventable and that until we focus on identifying, intervening and helping individuals who display at-risk behaviors (versus a gun-only focus), we will likely not decrease the number of acts nationally.

So how do we prevent it? Research supports that nearly all violent / suicidal individuals made threats and/or gave off signs and signals before they hurt themselves or others. The threats, signs and signals can take place over years or days. If we identify and intervene – we can prevent gun-related violence. The problem is how do we know what is a threat or “sign and signal” that possibly poses an imminent or longer-term danger? How do we evaluate these threats, signs and signals? What do we do with them once they are seen, heard or read?

SHP believes schools and community-based organizations should be trained to identify and assess individual threats, signs and signals.


Threat Assessment & Intervention is a national evidenced-based* violence prevention training program researched and developed by Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D., a forensic clinical psychologist and Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. This program exists in over 1,000 schools and organizations in the U.S. SHP has partnered with Dr. Cornell to provide and train schools and community-based organizations on Threat Assessment & Intervention nationwide.

Threat Assessment & Intervention involves (a) identifying threats, signs and signals to commit a violent act, (b) determining the seriousness of the threat, sign or signal, and (c) developing intervention plans that protect potential victims that address the underlying problem or conflict that initiated the behavior. It is designed for schools and community-based organizations.

This program helps create safer, healthier homes, schools and communities by accessing help for individuals who may pose an imminent/longer term threat to themselves or others. While gun violence (gun-related crime and suicide) is SHP’s focus, this program helps identify and prevent alcohol and drug use, physical abuse, dropping out of school, criminal activity to name a few.


Schools (K-12 educators, administration, mental wellness/counseling support who interact with children and youth) and community-based organizations (leaders who interact with children and youth).


At-risk children and youth will benefit most. School and community-based learning environments will improve with the added layer of safety.

Additional published research findings from tests and studies:

  • Reported violence reduction
  • School staff reported decreased anxiety and increased knowledge in responding to threats
  • Students reported fewer threats carried out
  • Reductions of 50% in long-term suspensions
  • Reductions in bullying infractions
  • Increased use of school counseling
  • Increased parent involvement
  • Students reported greater willingness to seek help for threats of violence
  • Students reported a more positive views of school personnel



Threat Assessment & Intervention offers a problem-solving, structured approach to evaluate the viability of incoming threats and equips teams to intervene based on the degree of the threat, sign or signal level (defined as any form of expressed communication whether through verbal, written, or gesture of the intent to harm self or others).

Each school establishes a multidisciplinary team based on its existing staff of school administrators, mental health, and law enforcement professionals (schools may adapt team composition to fit their staffing). Training:

  • Follows a 5-step decision tree and triage approach, so that most threats are resolved quickly with only a few team members; only the most serious threats require full team involvement and/or law enforcement
  • Completed in a one-day workshop

Threat Assessment & Intervention provides all steps, forms, etc to train and implement.  It has been peer-reviewed and refined based on hundreds of hours of training and implementation.


Contact for more information.

* Sandy Hook Promise offers Threat Assessment & Intervention in partnership with Dewey G. Cornell, Ph.D., a forensic clinical psychologist and Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Dr. Cornell is Director of the UVA Youth Violence Project, a Program Director for Youth-Nex, the UVA Center for Effective Youth Development, and a faculty associate of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy. Dr. Cornell has studied youth violence for over 25 years and has assisted thousands of schools in the development of violence prevention programs. He has authored more than 200 publications in psychology and education, including: Guidelines for Responding to Student Threats of Violence and School Violence: Fears versus Facts.

¹Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines: SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidenced-Based Programs and Practices.


Programs and Resources

Research-based Programs and Practices to help protect children from gun violence in your home, schools and community. 

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People who are at-risk of hurting themselves or others often show signs and signals before an act of violence takes place.  When you don’t know what to look for, it can be easy to miss signs, or dismiss them as unimportant, sometimes with tragic consequences. 

It’s important to know that one warning sign on its own does not mean a person is planning an act of violence.  But when many connected or cumulative signs are observed over a period of time, it could mean that the person is heading down a pathway towards violence or self-harm.  By knowing the signs, you have the power to intervene and get help for that person.  Your actions can save lives. 

A strong fascination or obsession with firearms can be a warning sign.

Extreme feelings of isolation or social withdrawal can be warning signs.

Victims of long-term bullying may have feelings of being picked on or persecuted by others, a potential warning sign.

Threats of violence or anti-social behavior can be warning signs.

Hinting about an upcoming attack or making threats of violence (overt or subtle) are serious warning signs that demand intervention.

Victims of social rejection or marginalization can become socially isolated, a potential warning sign.