HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Students across Utah come together to learn the importance of mental health care

Feb 2, 2023, 1:35 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

SYRACUSE, Utah — Mental health, wellness and suicide prevention — they’re all big topics of conversation, and more and more, those conversations include our kids.

Hope Squad is a program founded in Utah that is reaching students all over the state and beyond.

Rewind a couple weeks ago, KSL shared how middle and high school students were learning how to support their peers in suicide prevention through Hope Squad.

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

On Thursday, students as young as fourth grade came together for Hope Squad.

An auditorium full of elementary students learning the importance of mental health care and advocating for one another is something Dr. Greg Hudnall, founder and executive director for Hope Squad, said is incredible.

Forming Hope Squad came from a place of vowing to do something that would create positive change and help prevent suicide after losing five students to suicide as a high school principal. 

“What we do is train them. We train them on anti-bullying, resiliency, mental wellness, how to take care of themselves and how to reach out to help others, and most importantly, when to go to an adult,” Hudnall said. 

Wendi Christensen worked alongside Greg in those early days forming the program, even helping put together the very first binder of some sort of school program, that ended up being what is today’s Hope Squad. 

“Especially here in the state of Utah, the highest deaths, ages 10 to 17, the highest cause of deaths is suicide. So that’s why we really want to get the prevention out there. That’s why we started it back then,” Christensen said.

Now, she is working in the Davis School District and helping bring Hope Squad to younger students.

“Almost every single elementary school in Davis District is on board with the Junior Hope Squad,” Christensen said.

Nowadays, Hope Squad is in about 400 schools throughout Utah. Worldwide, the number of Hope Squads jump to 1,700 schools. 

Hope Squad’s founder and CEO said he travels all over, talking with schools as well as organizations and businesses. Hope Squad is also reaching military bases.

KSL 5 TV Live

Healthy Mind Matters

A photo of Joe and Aussie Marie when they were dating, before Joe took his own life in 2021....

Emma Benson

Keeping track of men’s mental health

A woman shares her story of losing her boyfriend to suicide and asks everyone to support their male loved ones.

15 days ago

Diego Luna discusses his mental health struggles during his second season as a midfielder for Real ...

Emma Benson

‘It’s very difficult’: RSL’s Diego Luna opens up about mental health struggles

Luna, a California native and Olympic hopeful, is in his second season as a midfielder for Real Salt Lake. He admits the season was off to a rocky start. Pressures on and off the field, including becoming a father, were affecting his mental state.

2 months ago

Anton Nootenboom, "The Barefoot Dutchman", walks across the country to bring awareness to men's men...

Ken Fall

‘The Barefoot Dutchman’ and his remarkable trek for men’s mental health

Anton Nootenboom, "The Barefoot Dutchman", makes his way across the U.S. to spread awareness for men's mental health.

2 months ago

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 04:  Sesame Street characters Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Zoe and Cookie M...

Emma Benson

‘Elmo loves you!’ Our favorite red Muppet stars in mental health campaign

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we all deal with stress and different emotions. In January, Elmo asked a simple question online that sparked a huge conversation.

2 months ago

A psychiatrist at the Huntsman Mental Health is recommending to build a "mental health toolkit."...

Peter Rosen and Emma Benson, KSL TV

Building a mental health toolkit

When life overwhelms you, sometimes there's not just one solution; which is good to have a variety of tools in your "mental health toolkit."

2 months ago

Lehi seventh grader took this gun to his middle school...

Lindsay Aerts

Lehi school resource officer, middle schooler prevented Utah student’s planned suicide

The Alpine School district said a seventh grader who brought a gun to his Lehi middle school last November, planned to take his own life. A school resource officer and a fellow student stepped in.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Students across Utah come together to learn the importance of mental health care