• Overview

    What is Hope Squad?

    Hope Squad is a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program that, to date, has reached 43 states, Canada, the Republic of Ghana and South Korea. Its mission is to reduce youth suicide through education, training and peer intervention.

    This important suicide prevention program trains and mentors students, nominated by their peers, to perform intentional outreach with fellow students. Hope Squad student members do not provide counseling or therapy, they instead serve as a connection to the help that is needed.

    Hope Squad student members were chosen by their peers as being easy to talk to, great listeners and naturally supportive of struggling students who are in need of a friend. Many of the students see this as an opportunity to help change the mindset and culture when it comes to mental health.

    In addition to persuading struggling peers to get help, Hope Squad members will also organize school-wide activities that promote connectedness and inclusion and have already launched an Instagram account as a supplemental source for reaching students online.

    For now, the program at Seneca Valley is for grades 9-12, but is expected to extend into grades 7-8 in the fall of 2023. 

    Why was Hope Squad formed?

    Suicide is the third leading cause of death in young people today. In fact, suicide rates overall have increased 31 percent over the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It most often occurs when stressors exceed current copping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. CDC statistics also indicate that seven out of 10 teens considering suicide will tell a friend.

    Hope Squad is based on the principle that students are most comfortable confiding with their peers when they are going through a difficult time.

    Dr. Greg Hudnall, founder of Hope Squad, is considered one of the leading experts in community and school-based suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. He is a former high school principal, student services director and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District in Provo, Utah. Deeply and personally impacted by suicides in his school district, he created the Hope Community Task Force in 1999, focusing on community-wide suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. In 2004, he and a team of experts went one step further and created the school-based “peer-to-peer” suicide prevention program now known as Hope Squad and can be found in over 1,000 schools across the country.

Hope Squad
Hope Squad members