by Bailee Withers and Rachel Powell
A new club is coming to Madison Junior High school! Last week, students nominated their peers for the Hope Squad. The names that have the most nominations will become the Hope Squad. This is a suicide prevention group that is slowly being introduced to schools. Madison Junior High is trying to give hope to mentally ill people in our school. It is a big problem. On average, there are about 132 suicides per day nationwide. This has to stop. Our school is starting our own Hope Squad. Mr. Becraft and several other teachers in our school are going to be advising the group.
The Hope Squad’s goal is to create a safe school environment, promote connectedness, support anti-bullying, encourage mental wellness, reduce mental health stigma, and to prevent substance misuse. Wouldn’t these things be great things to improve in our school? Hope Squad members will learn to notice at-risk students, look for ways to support fellow bobcats and assist counselors who will also be on the team.
Hope Squad started with a principal, Dr. Hundall, in Provo, Utah that dealt with a lot of students who had committed suicide. He didn’t want it to happen anymore. So, he put together some people to help prevent suicide by learning to watch for the warning signs. The official Hope Squad Website states, "Our goal is to prevent suicide through public awareness and education, reduce stigma, and serve as a resource to those touched by suicide.”
Hope Squad’s mission is to reduce youth suicide through education, training, and peer intervention. Their vision is to have Hope Squad in every school. Let’s help them achieve this vision by embracing Hope Squad in our school. Hope Squad will be there for you. They are listening and are doing everything they can to help students with mental illness. Luke Wilson, a member of Hope Squad, said, “Through Hope Squad I have developed and learned the most important skill a friend can have: the ability to listen completely.”
Hope Squad can help others but it can also help you. Danny, another Hope Squad member says, “The reason I’m in Hope Squad is because it brings hope to me. I feel good, I feel happy when I’m reaching out to others.”
The Hope Squad will go through lots of education, training, and peer intervention. The Hope Squad will be focusing on safety, connectedness and mental wellness. These are just a few of the main topics Hope Squad will be focused on.
Hope Squad is in 33 states and Canada, in 1000+ schools, has 30,000+ members, and 5,000+ students referred for help. Let’s add at least one more to the list.
1st Period 8:40-9:37
2nd Period 9:47-10:44
3rd Period 10:49-11:46
1st Lunch 10:44-11:14
2nd Lunch 11:46-12:16
3rd Period 11:19-12:16
4th Period 12:21-1:18
5th Period 1:23-2:20
1st Period 8:40-9:50
2nd Period 10:00-11:10
3rd Period 11:15-12:25
1st Lunch 11:10-11:40
2nd Lunch 12:25-12:55
3rd Period 11:45-12:55
4th Period 1:00-2:10
5th Period 2:15-3:25
For those of you who don’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness month. Madison has done a great job at working to end the stigma surrounding mental health, including discussing it on social media and opening a new mental health wing at Madison Memorial. These are great steps we need to continue to take so we can get to the point where people have the ability to recognize issues they may have so they can receive help.
I struggle with anxiety stemming from perfectionism. No, not the kind of perfectionism that needs everything to be tidy; my room is a mess. This type of perfectionism is hating messing up or being wrong to an extreme degree. I carry a lot of pressure on myself to never make mistakes, and when I do or have the opportunity to, that’s when I get anxiety. Aspects of this have followed me around my whole life, never too bad, but it has gotten increasingly worse. Along with this, I get moments of depression that will luckily only last for a couple of days, but it did reach a point where it was really difficult for me to go to school because it just felt so difficult just to exist there. I also got into really bad habits, such as biting the inside of my cheeks, and tearing off my split ends to the point where bits of hair are so short they can never go up into a ponytail.
Dealing with this has certainly been a journey for me. Because of the stigma around mental health, I was always scared to approach my parents and tell them this was something I might have, mostly out of fear to be told I was just “self diagnosing”. So I didn’t tell them directly for a while, but rather tried to show them so they could figure it out themselves. This led to very self-destructive habits of trying to put myself into situations that gave me anxiety to prove it to myself and others. Although I’m working to stop it, I still get a little bit of satisfaction when my anxiety gets bad because I view it as more proof. Thanks to a little bit of courage I’ve been able to muster up, I was finally blunt with my parents and told them I need help. Once they realized that that was true, they opened up and have been working to be more attentive to my needs. I have gone to two counseling sessions so far and already have learned so much about myself, as well as really helpful strategies to help cope.
I’ve told very few people that I’ve gone to counseling, for some reason it felt like it wasn’t my secret to share, like I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. Although part of that might be me overthinking, a lot of it has to do with the lack of normalizing getting help and sharing our stories. The more we share our experiences, the more comfortable others will be to speak up and share theirs. Having depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, etc., is never something to be ashamed of or hidden. So many more people than you’d think, and people that you know, struggle with mental illnesses. We must end the embarrassment surrounding the topic of mental health, because the more we make it so it’s harder to reach out and ask for help, the more dangerous it can be.
9th Graders - Auditorium for Registration Mtg with High School Counselors
7th & 8th Graders - Main Gym for Student Body Elections Assembly
45 Minute Assembly (60 minute classes)
1st 8:45 - 9:45
Assembly 9:50 – 10:35
2nd 10:40 - 11:40
3rd 11:45 - 12:45
First Lunch 11:40 - 12:10
Second Lunch 12:45 - 1:15
3rd 12:15 - 1:15
4th 1:20 - 2:20
5th 2:25 - 3:25