Title

Educators' Perspective of Suicide Prevention Program: Hope Squad

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name

Ed.S in School Psychology

Department

School of Education and Health Sciences

Advisor/Chair

Sawyer A. Hunley

Abstract

Evidence-based research suggests that schools offer the most extensive intervention opportunities for students at-risk for suicide (Evans & Hurrell, 2016). An important aspect of this system is the implementation and evaluation of school-based suicide prevention programs, such as Hope Squad. Current literature on this program is limited, as this program is relatively new and is being implemented in a growing number of schools across the country. Thus, the present study investigated the perspectives of school personnel on the suicide prevention program, Hope Squad. Following a qualitative method of research, eight participants, who are directly involved with Hope Squad, were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol. Through a thematic analysis, categories and themes emerged, including: need for Hope Squad (mental health concerns, being proactive, and social-emotional supports), benefits of Hope Squad (trained and trusted peers, suicide training, mental health awareness, and change in the culture of the school), challenges within Hope Squad (time for training members and stigma), and pandemic response (social media platforms, dramatic decrease in referrals, and delay in training). Schools can facilitate trainings through programs such as Hope Squad, to better equip staff and students to help students at-risk for suicide and create a more positive school environment. The findings from this study can be used to increase awareness of Hope Squad and the perspectives of school personnel towards this suicide prevention program.

Keywords

Psychology, suicide, suicide-prevention, Hope Squad

Rights Statement

Copyright 2021, author

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