This article goes over Hope Squad, a club within LMHS that battles mental health issues and emphasizes suicide prevention.
Suicide is a serious and growing public health concern that affects individuals of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. It is a complex issue often resulting from multiple and interrelated factors, such as mental and physical health disorders, traumatic health events, relationship difficulties, and social/economic stressors. Suicide is not only a personal tragedy but also a devastating loss to families, communities, and society as a whole. Preventing suicide is critical to saving lives and promoting well-being. It requires a comprehensive and coordinated approach that addresses its root problems while representing resilience, hope, and support for those who are struggling.
Here at Little Miami High School, and, as of last year, the Middle School, there is a program put into place that addresses and tackles these concerns firsthand: Hope Squad. Hope Squad is a suicide prevention organization where members are elected freshmen year based on their trustworthiness, ability to empathize with others, and character, as judged by their peers. Hope Squad aims to raise awareness about mental health and to provide support for students who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. The club offers a safe space for students to talk about these struggles and receive help from their peers and school counselors. They, the members of Hope Squad, are trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide and to help connect those in need with the appropriate resources.
I’ve interviewed one of Hope Squad’s newest members, freshman Abigail Withers, to get an inside view of what Hope Squad looks like.
Q: What is Hope Squad?
A: Hope Squad is a suicide prevention club.
Q: What activities do you participate in as a Hope Squad member?
A: There are two kinds of get-togethers for our club. We have meetings that are typically during ETEH and are fun-filled group activities. On the other hand, we have training sessions after school, which are filled with learning opportunities
Author's Note: Hope Squad often participates in school-wide involvements such as Hope Week, which happened this March. They are also involved in meeting up with other schools for group activities. Lastly, they manage and run Daylight Prom, which is offered to those with special needs every May.
Q: How can students reach out to you?
A: Students can reach out to me specifically, or any other member, in person, or through a network messaging system such as Outlook. You can also meet with primary counselors who run the program, such as Mrs. Meredith Reuscher or Mrs. Amy Anderson.
Q: How do you feel about the stigma surrounding the club?
A: Personally, I do not hear much hatred or opposition to the club, though the inappropriate name “Suicide Squad” has been coined by some students as a means of joking. It is frustrating when I hear students making fun of the club in general, as you never know who could be needing help.
Q: What are your fondest memories of Hope Squad so far?
A: My fondest memories of Hope Squad include our first meetings because of how welcoming everyone was, and accepting the new members were. Also, during one of our past after-school training sessions, we did a blindfolded relay race, which was also super fun!
Hope Squad is a wonderful club for nominated students to gain the resources, and knowledge, necessary to help those who are struggling. Also, it has the capability of making people aware of what the signs of suicidal thoughts look like. The presence of Hope Squad in Little Miami is a proactive step towards reducing suicide rates and promoting mental health awareness. If you, or someone else, is struggling, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline number: 988, or, reach out to anyone trusted, including those involved in Little Miami Hope Squad.