Hope Squad is a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program. The student members can be a listening ear in school for students who appear to be struggling or might need someone to talk to. If a Hope Squad member hears from someone who is having a hard time, the goal is for them to encourage or refer that student to talk to a trusted adult or counselor who can help further.
Members of the Hope Squad are students voted on by their peers as trusted, approachable, and kind people that students can depend on. The advisors and counselors for the high school Hope Squad are Devin Coronado, Tony Canchola, and Sara King.
The Hope Squad aims to lower the stigma around mental health issues, and lets students know that they do not have to endure challenges alone.
“It’s normal for teenagers to not be okay,” said Devin Coronado. “We want the students at Frenship High School to know they have peers to talk to, who can refer them to a trusted adult.”
The first Day of Hope was a success. The Hope Squad greeted students at both entrances of the high school to spread hope with uplifting quotes and greetings! The ‘Choose Hope’ walls gave students an opportunity to take any quote they needed. Throughout the day, students within and outside of the Hope Squad handed out the positive affirmations and quotes to peers, teachers, and custodians.
“It was awesome to see such positivity and light spread throughout the school,” said Coronado. “It was a great way to kick off our new tradition!”
Although suicide is a very heavy topic, it is necessary to discuss – especially with teenagers. When teenagers do not feel comfortable speaking with adults first, they often turn to peers who can then help them speak to a qualified counselor or trusted adult. They want students to confidently choose to hope in the face of adversity, rather than facing challenges alone and remaining unaware of the resources available to them.
The FHS counselors believe it is important to have a Hope Squad so students can choose to hope. The squad is the eyes and ears of the school, they are on the lookout for those struggling students who might not want to approach an adult by themselves, or at all. The members absolutely do not act as counselors, but instead, refer students to trusted adults who are qualified to help with further information and action. With the resources of students and adults who are visibly ready to help, it is the hope of the team that students will place their trust in this process to lead them down a brighter path and another day.
The advisors of Hope Squad see this project becoming a part of Frenship’s many traditions that will have a positive impact on the student body and community for years to come. Though it is the first year, the students are ready for a positive change to help others, and by getting into the school and community, they are hoping others will be ready to receive help and spread more hope.
“We want every student to know that with the Hope Squad there is always someone to talk to,” said Coronado.