A thank you to Hope Squad

Megan Lee | The Chronicle

A few years ago, a cry went out by Mason High School (MHS) students that our school was in need of a program to help support students struggling with emotional and mental health. In 2018, the Hope Squad was introduced at the high school. 

The MHS Hope Squad has been instrumental in breaking down the stigma around mental health. Now, five years later, we are accustomed to conversations and initiatives powered by our Hope Squad. 

Hope Squad makes their own mark on the community by encouraging students to learn about mental health. Mason High School students on the team dedicate a period of their day in order to be trained to use different techniques to approach multiple mental health disorders. This allows them to work with students who are struggling and give them healthy coping mechanisms. Hope Squad also uses campaigns such as Hope Week to spread positive messages about misconceptions regarding mental health.  

For that, we are grateful and thankful for this tremendous group of students who have bonded together to make it their mission to create safe spaces and help raise awareness around this extremely sensitive topic. 

This past week, the Hope Squad continued their mission to help with the Day of Hope. On February 16, the Hope Squad students, advisor Alex Beurkett, and even Hibbs, their loveable black lab hit the halls, hoping to help their peers reflect on their own idea of hope, self-care  and to intervene when a student is in need.                                                                       

Recently the concept of Hope Squad in the school setting was criticized in a local school district. The claim was made that groups aimed at helping students with emotional wellness actually cause more stress and anxiety, but in fact, it is these small changes that start to make a difference. We have students who focus on furthering mental health awareness. We are creating a culture where student well-being is prioritized. While I do believe that mental health will never be truly normalized, it eases me to know that teenagers are helping one another become connected to their own struggles. 

As students, we need to continue amplifying Hope Squad’s work and continue to deepen our understanding of the importance off mental health.