Hope Squad works to provide mental health advocacy, suicide prevention in Utah schools

Jan 18, 2023, 12:41 PM | Updated: 1:35 pm

OREM, Utah — Prioritizing mental health is something that is essential. It’s one thing to know about the need to take care of oneself, and another to have the tools and community to put positive mental care practices into action.

Thanks to Hope Squad, a Utah-based program, students in elementary through high school are developing tools needed to care for themselves mentally and share that hope with others.

Mountain View High School hosted Hope Squad Wednesday by bringing in students in junior high all the way through high school. 

The goal of Hope Squad is to promote everything mental health advocacy with students across the state.

“Suicide’s a scary topic. Depression. Anxiety. These are all heavy things,” said Alivia Walker, a Hope Squad leader. 

While it can be difficult to sort out everything going on in our heads, Walker said Hope Squad is there to help the individual and peers with whatever they are going through.

“When we talk about them together, it becomes that safe space where we can be open and move better,” Walker said.

Students KSL spoke with from Bingham High and Stansbury High are taking a class as part of their school day dedicated to Hope Squad. 

Lessons learned are lessons passed along to others. 

“Meditation is super useful — it helps you calm your mind; it just helps put you in the present moment, so you’re not worried about what’s in front of you or what’s behind you. You’re just thinking about right then,” said Spencer Johansen, a Hope Squad leader. 

There is a lot on a high school senior’s plate. Carter Womack, a Hope Squad leader, gets that as a senior himself.

“Especially as a senior, you’ve got so many different classes, college stuff, and we’re really just focusing on getting with our peers and just relieving that,” Womack said.

Hope Squad: Celebrating the wins today and preparing for wins tomorrow. 

“I think for the spring moving forward, I’m happy to be able to congratulate people for making it. We’re proud of them for coming that far and also shaping them. There’s hope in the harder times, you know?” Walker said.

Come February, elementary school students will also be learning from Hope Squad.

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Hope Squad works to provide mental health advocacy, suicide prevention in Utah schools