National Suicide Prevention week begins on September 5th, and while many people have become more comfortable talking about their mental health in recent years, there is still a tragic amount of fear, and stigma, around the topic of suicide.
If you are contemplating suicide or are in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
This is particularly true for adolescents, who are more acutely attuned to social pressure at this point in their lives, and due to the global pandemic, have seen disruptions of community, significant life events, safety, stability, regular healthcare, and other routines. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) concluded that young people were 30 - 80% more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depression than adults in the United States, and that higher levels of loneliness were also reported by young people.
In the hopes of better supporting our students struggling with mental health crises and stigma, Method Schools is looking for student leaders to participate in forming a student-led, peer-to-peer suicide prevention program known as a Hope Squad. Under the guidance of veteran Method teachers, Hope Squad members will organize and lead engaging community events to create a safe school environment, reduce the stigma of discussing mental health and suicide, promote student-student connectedness, and serve as approachable members of the student body that their peers can talk to about issues.4
If you or another student you know is friendly, approachable, and passionate about helping others, we encourage you to reach out to your homeroom teacher to ask about joining Hope Squad! There are thousands of Hope Squads in public schools across the United States and Canada, and student members attest to the great sense of community, accomplishment, and fulfillment they experience when their Hope Squad noticeably changes the culture of a school for the better.
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Dan Hagerty is a Social Studies teacher who in his 7th year teaching after graduating from UC Irvine's credential program in 2015. He strives to facilitate an engaging, student-centered experience that brings the many and diverse voices of history to life for his students. Mr. Hagerty is an explorer who lived in Asia for several years as a young adult, and still loves to travel. When he is not working, he enjoys going on walks with his dog, exercise, and getting lost in a good story.