Hope Squad In Action

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Adrian Chen

A Helping Hand: Hope Squad spreads mental health awareness and offers peer-to-peer support.

Eugenie Chang, Viewpoint Editor

Whether it’s leading new students around campus during kick-off days or handing out coping kits, chances are you’ve seen Northwood’s Hope Squad in action before. 

Hope Squad is a nationwide suicide prevention program focused on reducing suicide attempts through peer-to-peer interaction, and it currently consists of branches at over a thousand schools in the United States. Its mission is to create a safe learning environment for all students, promote mental health awareness and engage in prevention and intervention. 

“One of my favorite things about being a member of Hope Squad includes having a sense of connection with compassionate and genuine people,” junior Chohan Yim said. “Hope Squad flourishes from a combination of differing perspectives, and is a non-judgemental safe space for many of us.”

Northwood’s Hope Squad currently consists of 28 peer-nominated students from all four grade levels. In these past years, they have held various activities such as Day of Hope and affirmation post series on their Instagram account to support students’ mental health and well-being since the pandemic has exacerbated the normal challenges students already face. One of their biggest events was Hope Week, which was held to promote awareness of student mental health and included uplifting activities such as creating sticky note walls with messages of hope and encouragement.

“Every life holds the same value and it is really sad to see someone who doesn’t view their life in such a way,” Hope Squad National Council member junior Sanjana Ramakrishnan said. “Sometimes all it takes is one person to show you that your life matters, and Hope Squad does just that.”

Hope Squad members are trained to support peers who may be struggling with mental health, as well as recognize suicide warning signs and intervene before it is too late. Members learn how to listen empathetically, promote anti-bullying and report concerns while still maintaining respect and privacy. 

“Hope Squad has taught me so many things, but what really stood out to me is how much a simple random act can bring someone so much hope,” Ramakrishnan said. “We make so many choices every day and the fact is that one choice to us can affect another in incomprehensible ways.”

For more information about Hope Squad, follow them on Instagram @nhs.hopesquad, and never hesitate to reach out to any of their members directly when you or someone you know is in need. Another resource you can utilize is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.