‘Sources of Strength’ is giving students at T.F.H.S. the opportunity to address mental health concerns

S.O.S, or Sources of Strength, is a national movement that Twin Falls High School adopted in recent years
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:49 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — According to a 2022 study, nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide and 9% have made an attempt to take their lives.

Here in the Magic Valley, schools are taking this problem seriously.

“We don’t want them suffering in silence. We want them to know that we’re here to listen and to understand if we can,” said Nancy Jones – Vice Principle at T.F.H.S.

For Vice Principal Nancy Jones and her administration, there at 1300 students to keep an eye on.

So, keeping a check on each-and-every one of their mental health can be quite a challenge.

Now, some students are taking that challenge into their own hands.

“People look into S.O.S., teachers look at S.O.S., and I have teachers tell me, ‘Thank you for being in S.O.S., what you’re doing is really making an impact on my students,” said T.F.H.S. Senior – Elijah Escobedo.

S.O.S, or Sources of Strength, is a national movement that Twin Falls High School adopted in recent years, which encourages students to discuss their mental health challenges with one another.

Twin Falls S.O.S. participants have paired up with local organizations like the Jae Foundation, which has encouraged students to have consistent check-in moments with their peers.

“The ask is that you would check on somebody, I mean, that night,” said Jones.

At Twin Falls High, each grade level has S.O.S. representatives, meaning each grade has a connection to administration, which ideally means a healthy relationship that cultivates important discussion.

“We hope that our relationship with them means that they are more willing to come share with us, to say, ‘hey, I think this student may be having a hard time,” said Jones.

For Escobedo, a senior, his hope is that S.O.S. has a lasting legacy at Twin Falls High School. One that helps normalize those uncomfortable, yet vital, conversations.

“I think that having mental health talk among households and your friends is really important, because you don’t know what the person is going through, what they are dealing with until they speak about it. So, unless you force the conversation and bring up mental health, then the problem will never go away,” added Escobedo.