The Hope Squad
Hope Squad- Peer to Peer Suicide prevention
Did you know that an average of 567 Utahns die from suicide and 4,543 Utahns attempt suicide each year? 2 Utahns die as a result of suicide every day and 12 Utahns are treated for suicide attempts every day.
Recently, our local school district, San Juan School district, has adopted the almost 10-year-old suicide prevention program, Hope Squad, which is part of its parent program, Hope 4 Utah. This is an amazing program built around the idea that young adults have a higher chance of noticing suicide warnings from each other than adults notice in young adults. This program teaches a select few of trusted students the warning signs of suicide and how to act in order to get the student the help that they need.
What is a HOPE Squad you ask?
“HOPE Squads are the eyes and ears of your school. They are comprised of students who are trained to watch for at-risk students–provide friendship, identify warning signs, and seek help from adults. HOPE4UTAH works with school advisors to train students who have been identified by their classmates as trustworthy peers to serve as HOPE Squad members. Through evidence-based training modules, HOPE Squad members are empowered to seek help and save a life.” Hope 4 Utah Website
This program has had an amazing impact on the school’s it’s been implemented in. According to their website (found here), over 250 students have been referred for help in the 9 years they’ve been running.
Hope Week 5k
This year the HOPE Squad is putting on a 5k fun run/walk at every high school in the district. How cool is that? Everyone that participates will get a free t-shirt and will be entered in to win a free flight from Classic Air!! Let’s all show our support for this great cause!
We recently go the opportunity create the shirts for the 5k fun walk/run that will be taking place during Hope Week (Hope Week is a week promoting hope and suicide awareness in local schools). We have loved this opportunity because it’s given us a chance to get to know exactly what Hope Week, the Hope Squad and Hope4Utah are. We’ve learned so much! This organization and the programs and events that come along with it, had done so much work in the name of suicide prevention. The creator, Dr. Gregory A. Hundal, has been working on this idea since 1988, and implemented the Hope Squad in schools in 2009, saving a unknown number of lives. A local podcast, Family Looking Up, recently interviewed Dr. Hundal and provide great insights and background on the topic, here’s a link to their website if you interested in learning more: Family Looking Up
Registration for Hope Week 5K Fun Walk/Run will begin at 1:30 pm at all of the below locations:
Monticello on Friday, September 7th
Monument Valley on Friday, September 14th
San Juan High School on Friday, September 21st
Whitehorse High School on Friday, September 28th
Montezuma Creek High School on Friday, September 28th
We are honored to have had the chance to work with such a great program!