The Advocate

HOPE SQUAD: Offering suicide prevention peer support

Hope+Squad+students+attend+a+meeting+on+Club+Day+on+March+6%2C+2018.+%0APhtoto+by+Porshe+Miller
Hope Squad students attend a meeting on Club Day on March 6, 2018. 
Phtoto by Porshe Miller

Hope Squad students attend a meeting on Club Day on March 6, 2018. Phtoto by Porshe Miller

Hope Squad students attend a meeting on Club Day on March 6, 2018. Phtoto by Porshe Miller

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By Porshe Miller – Feature

Earlier this year, a Lincoln High student overheard another student making suicidal statements during class.

The student who made the comments, meaning them only as a joke, was taken by surprise when a member of a new group implemented at Lincoln High called Hope Squad acted quickly.

The member asked serious questions regarding the statements made and the questions they had been trained to ask in a situation like this. The member referred the student to a trusted adult immediately and the student learned making those statements would be taken seriously.

The student eventually asked if they could join the group being astonished by how well the student reacted. Hope Squad is a new group at Lincoln High and is a school-based peer support program that empowers students to help other peers with suicide prevention. Students will refer students in need to trusted adults in the building so that they can receive the help they need and put their mental health back on track.

“Our hope is that we have a more positive school environment and that we want students to know that there is support out there for them,” Hope Squad leader Gabrielle Danner stated. “There are peers that care, and there is always hope.”

Hope Squad consists of students from Lincoln High that have been nominated by their fellow peers. Hope Squad has sponsors that include school social workers Gabby Danner, Kate Eilers and Renee McClure. The students that participate in this after school committee are trained to recognize students in need, to be a support for them, and refer them to trusted adults. These students were nominated by fellow students in the building that thought they would exemplify the traits that would be needed to help other students in need.

There are currently 22 students total that are part of Hope Squad: Freshmen Pu Pu Dah, Azzy Hanks, and Grace Neylon; Sophomores Tasneem Abbas, Meghan Bade, Meg Boedeker, Ella Hansen, Say Mia Htin, Thea Lahey, Lucas Larabee, Tadhg Parks, Theron Polivka, Naomi Rodriguez, Regan Schneider, and Rylee Schneider; and Juniors, Madison Dahlstrom, Gabby Graves, Jayden McMahan, Sydney Miller, Passmore Mundundulu, Tha Da Oo, and Emily Price.According to Danner the outcome for Hope Squad students is to create a positive environment for all Lincoln High students.

“You want a lot of people from different backgrounds so everybody feels that they have a voice. So they understand that they know that there is someone who is on Hope Squad that cares about them and understands them,” Gabrielle Danner stated.

Each individual is on the Hope Squad for different reasons that motivate them to be the peer that helps others with their mental health and to make the entire environment of Lincoln High a positive and safe environment.

“Something I love about about Hope Squad is that it directs kids to specialists in the field,” Hope Squad sophomore member Thea Lahey stated. “Instead of having school counselors they have peers they can talk to.”

Hope Squad members suggest that if you are wanting help with understanding the shape your mental health is in, that you consider going down to the counseling center.

“Our message is to make sure everyone knows they are not alone and we are all here for anyone who needs us,” sophomore Hope Squad member Meghan Bade said. “We’re all just ready to make a difference.”

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