Sources of Strength


What is Sources of Strength?

Sources of Strength is a radically strength-based, upstream suicide prevention program with shown effectiveness in both preventative upstream and intervention outcomes. Sources of Strength 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.

Sources of Strength was developed in North Dakota in 1998 by founder Mark LoMurray, in partnership with rural communities and several Northern Plains tribes. From 2000 to 2004, through a statewide collaborative effort involving the North Dakota Adolescent Suicide Prevention Task Force, Mental Health America of North Dakota, and the North Dakota Department of Health, the program trained approximately 7,500 teens and young adults.

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.

Where Does Sources of Strength Fit?

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 Sources of Strength 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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