WHAT IS A HOPE SQUAD?
A HOPE Squad is the eyes and ears of our school. It is a school-based “peer to peer” program comprised of students who are trained to be active listeners so they may help and respond to peers who are struggling with emotional issues such as depression and suicide. They are also trained to watch for at-risk students–provide friendship, identify warning signs, and seek help from adults. HOPE4UTAH works with school advisors to train students who have been identified by their classmates as trustworthy peers to serve as HOPE Squad members. Through evidence-based training modules, HOPE Squad members are empowered to seek help and save a life.
The goals of the HOPE Squad Program are to:
- Prevent suicide and reduce suicidal behaviors
- Break the code of silence regarding suicide in schools and communities
- Create positive relationships among students
- Provide training to increase students’ knowledge about suicide warning signs
- Increase acceptance among adolescents to seek adult help for peers
- Educate students about community resources
HOPE Squad members are NOT taught to act as counselors, but rather, are educated on how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation, and how to properly and respectfully report this to an adult. Once invited to be HOPE Squad members, students willing to go through the training must get a permission form signed by their parents.
WHY A HOPE SQUAD?
HOPE4UTAH has seen much success through their evidence-based peer-to-peer program. Students have identified their school’s HOPE Squads as a source of trust and comfort. HOPE Squads aim to:
- Enhance the health and safety measures already in place at a school
- Educate students on how to recognize warning signs of suicide
- Educate students how to respectfully report potential suicide behavior
- Train students how to interact with, watch, and support fellow students/friends who may be struggling
- Implement evidence-based strategies through HOPE Squad training programs
- Reduce suicide attempts