By Eric Dool, Loveland Director of Student Services

It is built into our district goals: Tiger Care. When considering all that Care could embody for our students, resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, and self-efficacy – one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task, stand out as being of paramount importance in preparing our children for life’s challenges. Unfortunately, for some students, a lack of resilience and self-efficacy, combined with episodic and/or long-term mental-health needs, results in suicidal ideation. The reality is frightening, and has touched every single school throughout the nation. However, we are not without hope.

Loveland is truly blessed with a wealth of caring staff and mental-health supports to meet the ongoing needs of our students. Yet, when considering the danger posed by suicidal thought, even those supports do not feel like enough.

Loveland is truly blessed with a wealth of caring staff and mental-health supports to meet the ongoing needs of our students. Yet, when considering the danger posed by suicidal thought, even those supports do not feel like enough. We must do more. We will do more. To that end, over the next several months, Loveland will be embarking upon a partnership with Grant Us Hope (https://www.grantushope.org/) and Hope Squad (https://hopesquad.com/) to provide our students with the tools needed to join us on the front line in doing all that we can to identify and intervene with suicidal thought and behavior.

Hope Squads – are trained to identify suicide warning signs in their peers, and to alert adults to those signs.

Grant Us Hope, the official Hope Squad Founding Agency of Ohio, has partnered with Hope Squad’s founder, Dr. Greg Hudnall, to bring the model to the Greater Cincinnati region, and eventually the entire state. Building upon a researched-based model, student groups – or Hope Squads – are trained to identify suicide warning signs in their peers, and to alert adults to those signs. District staff are also trained in the model, and serve in the capacity of organizing and guiding as advisors. To be clear, Hope Squad members are empowered to seek help and save a life; Hope Squad members are not taught to act as counselors. This group of students will be educated on how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation, and how to properly and respectfully report this to an adult.

This group of students will be educated on how to recognize signs of suicide contemplation, and how to properly and respectfully report this to an adult.

In May, school counselors from Loveland Intermediate School, Loveland Middle School, and Loveland High School will receive training to equip them with the skills to serve as advisors. Staff training, parent meetings, and student selection and training will follow in the late fall of 2018. Hope Squad will then launch as an official Tiger Care program in January 2019.

If you have any questions about Loveland’s participation in this program, I invite you to contact me directly.

Eric Dool dooler@lovelandschools.org

Director of Student Services
Loveland City School District



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