Metro Detroit school starts new program to combat suicide, depression

BERKLEY, Michigan (WXYZ) - Berkley High School leaders are taking on suicide, depression and anxiety in a new way.

A program called “Sources of Strength” was rolled out this week at the school — a program that aims to teach kids how to persevere through life’s challenges.

Unlike traditional programs the “Sources of Strength” program uses students as part of the solution. A large number of student leaders were pegged by teachers and brought in for instruction. The students, and a handful of teachers, brainstormed ideas about how to better their school environment. They were also trained about how to notice issues with their peers, and how to handle them.

“Knowing we can reach out to all these different people in our school, not just a counselor, you’re more equipped to know what to do,” explained Shayne Shoskow, a 10th grader who was one of the school leaders chosen to participate in the program.

Young people who have friends or other classmates struggling emotionally often are aware of situations sooner than most adults, explained the counselors behind the program’s rollout in Berkley. As Robyn Weiss explained, peers often have a a direct line of influence not he beliefs and behaviors that adults can’t match.

“We’re hopeful that using this positive approaching, drawing on students strength — that using students not just adults to identify others as struggling — we’re hoping that will help lessen stress and anxiety,” said Weiss.

Berkley is not the first school to try the program.

BHS counselors noted that a NY Times article titled, ‘It takes a suburb: A town struggles to ease student stress’ gave them ideas about expanding the “Sources of Strength” program to Berkley.

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