GNB Voc-Tech Offers Suicide Prevention Program to Students
The program is the only school-based suicide prevention program selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be included in its National Registry of Effective Programs.
“We think it’s important to educate our students about this topic,” said Mr. Jose Botelho, an adjustment counselor at GNB Voc-Tech. “We want to take a proactive approach.”
The SOS program includes a 22-minute video and a talk from Guidance Department staff. Following the program, students will complete a screening form designed to identify signs of depression. Students suffering from depression will be referred for in-school counseling or assistance from an outside agency such as Child and Family Services.
A copy of the screening form and a letter of explanation will be sent home to parents, Mr. Botelho said.
Mr. Botelho said he and Jimmy Owens, Coordinator of Guidance/Pupil Personnel Services at GNB Voc-Tech, have attended numerous training sessions on the topic.
In coming months, the Guidance Department expects to offer similar presentations to the rest of the student body.
The SOS program has been used by thousands of schools throughout the country and has proven successful at increasing the number of students seeking help, either for themselves or for a friend. It is designed to reach out to students to help them understand that depression is a treatable illness. It is also designed to help them assess whether they might have symptoms consistent with depression.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teenagers. In 2007, 13% of Massachusetts high school students reported they seriously considered suicide, 11% made a suicide plan, and 8% reported that they attempted suicide within the past year. Source: Health and Risk Behaviors of Massachusetts Youth, 2007: The Report. Accessed online on February 15, 2011 at http://www.doe.mass.edu/cnp/hprograms/yrbs/.
Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech
Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School is a public, four-year vocational technical high school for young men and women. With an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. GNB Voc-Tech is one of the largest vocational-technical high schools in Massachusetts. It serves the communities of New Bedford, Dartmouth and Fairhaven, Massachusetts.
The school's roots date back more than a century, to the creation of the New Bedford Independent Industrial School in 1908. When it opened in 1909, the school served only 59 students, all from New Bedford. Over the years, the school built a reputation for excellence by providing quality vocational and academic programs. In 1918, its name was changed to New Bedford Vocational School. In 1946, it became New Bedford Vocational High School. In 1955, it became the first vocational high school to be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
In 1972, voters in New Bedford, Dartmouth and Fairhaven approved the establishment of a regional vocational school district and construction of a regional vocational school. In 1977, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School was opened.
Today, the school sits on a beautiful 48-acre campus in the North End of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Its website may be found at http://www.gnbvt.edu/.