Hope Squad Brings Suicide Awareness

What exactly is Hope Squad? According to Kyria Petro, one of the teacher advisors of the Hope Squad at THS, “Hope Squad is a school-based peer support team that works with local mental health agencies.THS students selected peers and staff members who they felt would best most comfortable and suited for helping students who are in need of access to mental health services. Squad members are trained to watch for at-risk students, provide friendship, identify suicide-warning signs, and seek help from adults.” Hope Squad wishes to help the students of Talawanda to be caring and supportive of one another.

“Hope Squad’s message is that you are never alone,” Teresa Peter, the group’s other teacher advisor said. “The squad wants everyone in the building to have hope that someone here cares about them.”

The Talawanda branch of Hope Squad contains 12 members and 2 teacher advisors. “We’re small but mighty in the 2019-2020 school year, and we hope to grow as time goes on,” Petro said. Last spring, these members were trained in a nationwide program called Question, Persuade, Refer, or QPR. This program teaches how to identify people who may be struggling, and how to offer support and get them the help that they need.

This year, National Suicide Awareness Week takes place the week of September 8th, and Hope Squad has several things planned. “For Suicide Awareness Week, the Hope Squad plans to spread positive messages in engaging and interactive ways throughout the school,” Petro said. “Look for inspirational sayings on clothespins to collect and spread among–and about–your peers, rainbow hotline bracelets being distributed, and positive messages throughout the building.” Hope Squad asks all students to wear yellow to show their support for Suicide Awareness on Thursday, Sept. 12.

If you or someone you know is seeking help, call or text the Butler County Crisis Hotline: 1-844-4CRISIS (1-844-427-4747).

Student wears Hope Squad hotline bracelet.   

Photos also by C. Goodman