The HOPE Squad program is a school-based peer support team that partners with local mental health agencies. Peers select students who are trustworthy and caring individuals to join the Hope Squad. Squad members are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warning signs, and seek help from adults.
HOPE Squad members are NOT taught to act as counselors, but are educated on recognizing suicide warning signs and how to properly and respectfully report concerns to an adult. Once invited to be a HOPE Squad member, students must get a permission form signed by their parents and go through training.
The goal and objectives of the HOPE Squad Program are:
Hope Squads seek to reduce self-destructive behavior and youth suicide by training, building, and creating change in schools and communities.
- Hope Squads will train students and staff in schools to recognize suicide-warning signs and act upon those warnings to break the code of silence.
- Hope Squads will train students and staff to identify adolescents with undetected, untreated, or emerging mental disorders.
- Hope Squads will build positive relationships among peers and faculty in schools to facilitate acceptance for students seeking help.
- Hope Squads will build strong relationships with local mental health agencies and communities while educating students, parents, and school staff about available community mental health resources.
- Hope Squads will work to change the school culture regarding suicide by reducing stigmas about suicide and mental health.
- Hope Squads will work to change community perceptions of mental health by creating awareness about suicide and the tools available to prevent suicide.