All schools in PCSD participate in the Hope4Utah Hope Squad Program, which is a peer program that addresses suicide prevention and help-seeking training for selected students.
What is a hope squad?
HOPE Squads are the eyes and ears of your school. They are 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 Squad members are NOT taught to act as counselors, but rather, are educated on how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation, and how to properly and respectfully report this to an adult. Once invited to be HOPE Squad members, students willing to go through the training must get a permission form signed by their parents. After completing their training, HOPE Squad members host a parents’ night where they teach their parents and family members about what it means to be a HOPE Squad member.
Why a hope squad?
HOPE4UTAH has seen much success through their evidence-based peer-to-peer program. Students have identified their school’s HOPE Squads as a source of trust and comfort. In 9 years, 34 HOPE Squads have been formed in the Provo City School District, and over 250 students have been referred for help. HOPE Squads aim to:
- Enhance the health and safety measures already in place at a school
- Educate students on how to recognize warning signs of suicide
- Educate students on how to respectfully reports potential suicide behavior
- Train students how to interact with, watch, and support fellow students/friends who may be struggling
- Implement evidence-based strategies through HOPE Squad training programs
- Reduce suicide attempts
Learn more about Hope Squad at the official website.