Hope Squad Curriculum
The Hope Squad is designed around a three-year curriculum in the high school, two-years in the middle school and three-years in the elementary. Our research shows that it takes two to three years to start to change the culture of a school.
Year One – Hope Squad Fundamentals
Year one is designed for students to learn the fundamentals of the peer support Hope Squad Program. Advisors train the Hope Squad members, at a retreat, about the QPR methodology, which provides the basics of suicide prevention.
Students are then instructed throughout the school year. The curriculum is divided into lesson plans called, Phases, which stands for “providing hope and student empowerment.” Listed below are the core phases that are taught each year:
- Suicide Warning Sign: Learn and identify the common warning signs of suicide among peers.
- Becoming a Peer Advocate: Learn how to best help a peer who may be exhibiting suicidal warning signs.
- Talking about Suicide: Become confident in talking about suicidal thoughts to a peer who may be struggling and understand the importance of referring that peer to an adult.
- Self-Care: Understand how to set healthy boundaries and practice self-care when helping others.
Year Two – Hope Squad Essentials
Year two is designed to enhance Hope Squad members’ knowledge of the four core phases and provide a deeper understanding of mental health and suicide. In addition to the four core phases in year one, year two curriculum includes the following:
- Resiliency: Hope Squad members learn resiliency skills.
- Understanding Mental Health: Hope Squad members learn the different aspects of mental health including risk and protective factors for suicide.
- Understanding Grief: Hope Squad members learn the different ways people grieve and how to help someone who is grieving through their recovery.
- Response After a Suicide: Hope Squad members learn how they may strengthen their community after experiencing a suicide.
Year Three – Hope Squad Connections
The goal of year three is for older Hope Squad members to become more active in teaching and training their fellow students and reaching out to the community.
In addition to the four core phases in year one and two, year three curriculum also includes:
- Teaching my School: Hope Squad members learn how to train their school student body in suicide prevention.
- Training my Community: Hope Squad members learn how to train their community in suicide prevention.
Hope Squad 2015 Student Video Winner
Lehi High School Hope Squad Members
Salem Junior High School Hope Squad Members
One example of Year Three implementation is from the Lehi High School Hope Squad in Lehi, Utah. The Hope Squad members presented to the mayor and the city council about suicide prevention. After this presentation, they challenged the city leaders to become more active in prevention efforts within their community. The Hope Squad also became actively involved in community suicide prevention along with community leaders.
The Hope Squad has changed the culture of our school to one where everyone looks out for one another and lets adults know when they see or hear something that concerns them.
Springville Junior High
At this point, I think it is the most effective program available to us, the school and students are so used to it by now it’s almost a legacy. Students count on it–they would be more upset if we changed programs.
Dixon Middle School
Kids this age are marvelous at listening to their friends but they get overwhelmed and don’t know how to carry it after a while. So if you have a program that addresses what to do and how to get help sooner perhaps break cycles sooner. I think peers are very relevant.
Hillside Middle School