NHS New Squad Offers Hope

NHS New Squad Offers Hope

November 24, 2020

As a proud supporter of mental health initiatives throughout Irvine Unified School District, IPSF was honored to fund the Hope Squad project at Northwood High School through the Innovative Grants Program.

The Hope Squad is a nationally acclaimed peer-to-peer suicide prevention program that give students and instructors the training they need to provide support to their community. They achieve this through public awareness and educational initiatives with the goal of reducing stigmas and serving as a resource to those affected by suicide.

IPSF’s Innovative Grant provided funding to purchase curriculum for Hope Squad along with t-shirts to help identify students and advisors on the Squad. The group of 25 students and 10 advisors work to train the Squad on QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer, a research-based emergency mental health intervention focused on peer counseling and appropriate referral to trained individuals to reduce suicide. QPR is considered the mental health equivalent to CPR: both are part of systems designed to increase the chance of survival in the event of a crisis.

Northwood’s Hope Squad have adapted the program to serve all students, both in-person and virtually, regardless of their current learning model. The Hope Squad students and advisors continue to meet twice monthly for virtual trainings, and their social media team maintains an active presence on Instagram to reach students where they are, providing education and resources to reduce the stigma of mental health Issues.

Working groups have also been developed to plan campus-wide events such as “Hope Week” and provide Collective Recovery Training for all students on the Northwood campus. The training is designed to educate students about stress responses and coping strategies, and provide support in dealing with the impacts of Emergency Distance Learning, Virtual Learning, COVID-19, and recent wildfires.

Hope Squad students and advisors have already supported over 100 students with QPR and mental health resources and have referred a handful of students for professional services due to safety concerns. The Hope Squad has made an immediate and significant impact for Northwood students, increasing access to support, promoting connectedness, and saving lives.

Working together, there is HOPE that suicide can be prevented. Learn more at @nhs.hopesquad on Instagram.