Hope Squad: School-Based Peer Advocate Program To Prevent Suicide

Hope Squad® is a school-based peer support program that empowers selected students to take action to improve the school environment. Hope Squad members are trained to recognize if they or their peers are at risk for suicide as well as how to encourage peers to seek help from a trusted adult.

Research indicates that most youth who are suicidal talk with peers about their concerns rather than with adults, yet as few as 25 percent of peer confidants tell an adult. One of the goals of a youth suicide prevention program is to increase the likelihood of a student identifying a peer who may be at risk of suicide and refer him or her to an appropriate adult.

Hope Squads are the eyes and ears of a school. They are comprised of students who are trained to watch for at-risk students–provide friendship, identify warning signs, and seek help from adults. Hope Squad advisors 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.

The Hope Squad curriculum is divided into lesson plans called, Phases, which stands for “peers helping advance student empowerment.” A team of educators and mental health experts outlined the curriculum to be taught on a monthly basis by advisors (school counselors and staff members). Each Phase is clearly defined in the advisor manual and contains a Prezi presentation that follows the lesson content.

Population of focus: Children and youth

Links to resource:

Date: 2005

Founder: Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall