Sources of Strength program coming to CDHS

The Sources of Strength program includes mental health awareness, healthy activities, generosity and positive relationships

Cairo-Durham High School is pleased to announce it will be piloting the Sources of Strength program beginning this November.

Sources of Strength is a national suicide prevention program that utilizes students as “peer leaders” to promote the values of the program in school. Although centered on suicide prevention, Sources of Strength also contains components of mental health awareness, healthy activities, generosity and positive relationships.

“The goal is to impact the whole school, so the program recruits peer leaders who can effectively spread messages of positivity, generosity and support,” said Nick Fitzgerald, principal at CDHS. “It is both a suicide prevention and an anti-bullying program. By shifting the focus from negativity to positive perspectives, we will hopefully start to see a culture change in our school.”

Peer leaders were nominated by faculty members and Mr. Fitzgerald is hoping to recruit about 40 students (10% of the student body). The peer leaders and four faculty advisors will receive training from certified Sources of Strength trainers.

The initiative to bring Sources of Strength to the halls of CDHS grew out of Karen Drossel’s experience in the mental health field. Mrs. Drossel, who is a school social worker and the District Crisis Coordinator at Cairo-Durham Middle/High School, attends the Mental Health Matters Legislation Day each year. She often brings students in the Participation in Government class or those interested in the mental health field so they can see how the legislative and lobbying processes work.

“We have been advocating for increased funding for mental health services in schools, and Sources of Strength is a program that is funded through the New York state budget,” said Mrs. Drossel.

“We were able to meet with Senator Amedore's assistant and talk specifically about suicide prevention,” Mrs. Drossel continued. “We are grateful that Senator Amedore was able to secure funding for Sources of Strength to be implemented in our school and we are looking forward to seeing the impact it has on our students."