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.