Hope Squad promoted students to reveal their Lifesaver during Mental Health Awareness Month

Hope Squad promoted students to reveal their Lifesaver during Mental Health Awareness Month


By Gianna Jakubowski

Prowler Editor-in-Chief

This past Mental Health Awareness Month, the Hope Squad presented Bridgewater-Raritan High School with various activities and tips to help students. 

“It’s just so important for people to be kind. Especially in this day and age, there’s a lot of discourse and people end up being not as nice to each other, especially with things like online bullying,” said freshman and Hope Squad member Sarina Dalal. “It’s so important to build a strong, loving, caring community, especially in high school.”

Starting with every Monday last month, members of the Hope Squad sat at a table outside of the cafeteria with an activity for students.

They asked students to write on a printed lifesaver drawing who their lifesaver is, and in return, the student received a lifesaver candy.

The Hope Squad put these lifesavers on display outside of the large cafeteria.

Freshman and Hope Squad participant Brianne Ramrattan said “Getting to see the people and what their lifesavers are” made her happy. 

“I think it’s important because a lot of people don’t have others to reach out to, and when there’s somebody at school you can reach out to, it's very helpful,” Ramrattan said.

Additionally, every morning in the month of May on the daily announcements broadcasted by BRTV, the Hope Squad shared mental health tips and quotes of the day. It reinforced the necessity for students to take a breather and focus on their mental health. 

“I think that our school environment is very competitive and sometimes demanding, so I think that this community provides a sense of comfort and it makes you feel like you’re less alone,” sophomore Giselle Saravia said.

According to Ramrattan, the Hope Squad also holds Friday game days once a month. Members give out goodie bags with mental health items to students who are sitting alone, and they invite them to join the game day to have fun. 

“Being more aware of kids around you who are struggling and looking out for it and giving people a hand and becoming friends with people you normally wouldn’t reach out to on a regular basis” is a necessity, senior Katie Rissmeyer said.

The Hope Squad originated in Utah and has since become nationally recognized. 

Bridgewater-Raritan High School is the first public school in New Jersey to implement the club. 

The Hope Squad is guided by Social Studies Teachers Shannon Williams and. Lori Kendis, Health and Physical Education Teacher Michele Kussmaul, Special Education Teacher Mr. Evan Rosenberg, and Student Assistance Counselor. Lauren Amisial. 

To be part of the Hope Squad for next school year, members need to be nominated by the student body. Those who meet the criteria of emotional intelligence and approachability go through an application process. The group meets twice a month and holds events every month for mental health awareness.

Freshman Rhia Evans gave students advice to wrap up May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.

“[Don’t] worry about things that won’t really matter in a few months' time. If you get a bad grade, you don’t need to stress over it. Just make sure that you implement good health strategies, like making sure you get enough sleep, get enough to eat, drink enough water each day, practice mindfulness, and don’t forget you only have life and you should live it to the best extent,” she said.