Hope Squad

Susan McKelvey

No one wants to lose a person to suicide.  There is hope and there is help.  This is the message that East High’s Hope Squad is committed to spreading.

The bad news is that Utah has the 4th highest youth suicide rate in the country.  The good news is that suicide is preventable.  At East High, 46 students have decided that preventing suicide is an effort they want to support.  After voluntarily attending a 3 hour training, the East High Hope Squad has been instructed in how to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to help peers.  These amazing students are NOT counselors; they are good listeners who have access to resources.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline states that: Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide.  Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent.  On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control.  Some of the feelings and thoughts they experience are:

can’t stop the pain
can’t eat, sleep, or work
can’t think clearly
can’t get out of depression
can’t make decisions
can’t make the sadness go away
can’t see any way out
can’t see a future without pain
can’t see themselves as worthwhile
can’t get anyone’s attention
can’t seem to get control

Hope Squad members respect these feelings while they give the message that if you experience these feelings, get help!  If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!  You/they CAN feel better.

Hope Squad members are also aware that there is something we can all do to prevent suicide.  Promoting meaningful, caring connections with each other – in even the smallest of ways- has been shown to be a major factor in preventing suicide. That is why creating positive relationships among students/faculty is a goal of Hope Squad.  Other goals are:  increasing the knowledge of suicide warning signs; raising awareness and acceptance for students to seek help from a trusted adult; reducing destructive behavior and reducing youth suicide; educating students and parents about community mental health resources.

No other school in the Salt Lake District has a Hope Squad, and it is brand new at East High.  So be listening for more information coming from these most amazing students.  They truly believe that your life matters!