Hope Squad is a new nationwide program that trains students for peer-to-peer counseling to prevent suicide attempts among high schoolers, and the program is coming to Alachua County. The school district is partnering with the Alachua County Crisis Center and PALS THRIVE to help make this program a reality.
Jennifer Taylor, supervisor of Guidance Alachua County Schools, said the peer-to-peer aspect of the program is the most important part.
“Adults often talk to kids about their feelings and what is going on, but kids really talk to kids, and so we want to empower students to support each other,” Taylor said.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 through 34.
The Hope Squad program is currently at four high schools: Eastside, Buchholz, Loften and Gainesville High.