What is Sources of Strength?

Sources of Strength is a youth mental health and suicide prevention program, designed to use the power of social networks to create healthy norms and culture for our children. It is considered the first suicide prevention program to demonstrate effectiveness in using peer leaders to enhance protective factors associated with reducing suicide across a school population.

In 2009 Sources of Strength was listed on the National Best Practices Registry by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). In 2011 Sources of Strength was listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), the gold standard of prevention programs in the United States.

The ConnerStrong Foundation is proud to be one of the many sponsors of this very important program! To date, we have funded this program in over 13 Virginia high schools and middle schools and are currently working on adding several elementary schools to our list. Our goal is to is to provide Sources of Strength training and program implementation into as many schools as possible in an effort reduce the number of suicides in our community.

Sources of Strength is presently running in hundreds of middle and high schools across the country. The program also has shown great success in universities large and small, numerous LGBTQ centers and organizations, multiple cultural community centers, The YMCA, faith-based groups, detention centers, the military and much more.

If you are interested in seeing if Sources of Strength would be a good program for your organization or location, please contact us.

How Does the Sources of Strength Program Work?

Through training in Sources of Strength, peer leaders are empowered to lead the way in determining what they can do to change the dialogue about mental health and suicide to create a cultural change of behavior, where everyone is accepted, supported and helping those who are struggling and encouraged in help-seeking behavior.

Peer groups become agents of change for creating awareness and breaking the stigma around depression and other causes of suicide, demonstrating that no one is alone and encouraging others to see help. Through action and connection, there is hope for everyone. Each organization using the program tailors the messaging, activities and structure to meet the specific needs of their group. When the peer leaders use their faces and voices, they can more easily influence their own friends, social groups, and dynamics within.

Sources of Strength Activities

Sources of Strength provides templates, activities, and proven messaging that can be customized to help others inside their own school and community.

Upstream, preventative training program Sources of Strength is an evidence-led, upstream youth suicide prevention training program that aims to help teens before they reach the point of crisis. The program uses an active learning model centered on:

  • developing coping skills
  • finding inner strengths
  • seeking outside help
  • building connection with other peers and trusted adults

By focusing on positive, protective measures, the program creates a social and cultural change of behavior, spreading trust, connection, acceptance, hope, coping skills, and strength to everyone.

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