Hope Squad gives hope for suicide prevention

Huntley’s first suicide prevention group plans walk


Courtesy of hopesquad.com

Hope Squad plans a walk for May 6.

By Natalie VonderHeide

With more light shed on the topic of mental health, Huntley High School has begun its first-ever suicide prevention group: Hope Squad. Hope Squad is a student-led organization with a focus on mental health and suicide prevention.

Students in the club meet every couple of weeks to continue learning question-persuade-refer or also known as QPR training. Occasionally, meetings will take more of an entertaining route and allow other members to get to know each other better.

“It’s more like a community,” Hope Squad member sophomore Isabella La Porta said. “For instance, with our first meeting, I was new to it. I didn’t know anyone and when I first got in, everyone was just so friendly [and] open-minded. I felt like there was a different world because everyone was just so nice.”

The purpose of a Hope Squad member is not only to help spread positivity but to assist others when they are experiencing difficulties. QPR training not only allows someone to know the right steps to take when helping someone in a bad state of mind but also makes it easier to see the signs of someone struggling.

“’I know I’m getting the right knowledge and doing the right procedures when helping someone now,” La Porta said. “When they’re going through a hard moment or having negative thoughts, you know how to detect that and how to [help] them.”

While the club’s main focus is on QPR training, their current activities are planning the Out of the Darkness walk being hosted at Huntley High School on May 6. This is the high school’s first year hosting the walk but the second participating in it as the team Huntley Helps.

“The Out of the Darkness walk’s purpose is to raise funds for suicide prevention,” social worker Tami Broskow said. “While the word hasn’t spread too widely yet, the school is in the works of putting together a lot of great things to make it a successful walk.”

Anyone is able to participate in the walk for any reason and can sign up for the walk by scanning a QR code posted around the school.

“I am going to participate because it’s a really important cause that is not talked about a lot and there is a stigma towards it,” senior walk participant Olivia Al’Shayeb said. “I think this walk is a good way to shed light on these unspoken issues.”

Even though it is only the first year of the club, they have already impacted the lives of a few students.

“I personally have had a few Hope Squad members tell me about students they were concerned about,” Broskow said. “I think we’ve already impacted some lives and if we only impact one in a positive way, then I think it’s being successful.”