The Hope and Love Foundation Assembly
It is said in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling, that “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The Hope and Love Foundation, a non-profit organization aimed at spreading mental health awareness, is involved in spreading this very same message around the country. They travel around the U.S., helping many teenagers cope with their struggles. They recently came to George on September 21st to talk about their organization, how to talk about mental stability and “how to seek help.”
According to Thoughts of Death and Suicide in Early Adolescence by Ann Vander Stoep Ph.D, Elizabeth McCauley Ph.d, and Andrea Stone Ph.D, “Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents (Anderson 2000) with many more youth reporting thoughts of suicide as well as suicide attempts (COC and Prevention 2006).” Because of the prominence of suicide among teens, it is important to talk about it and work together to reduce the shocking rates. This is why the Hope and Love Foundation has made it their fundamental goal to make an impact on teenagers. Their work is of immeasurable value.
On their recent trip to George Washington High School, the Hope and Love Foundation made a major impression on teenagers and adults alike. After the assembly, about five new students went to Ms. Rosenquist, one of the school’s social workers. Although this was a benefit to these students, there was some confusion about the details of the event. In an interview with her, she said that before the assembly, “The concern that we had as mental health staff [was that] teachers didn’t know [the assembly] was about suicide attempt and mental health.” This made it hard for everyone to prepare for the overload of emotions they were bound to be feeling afterward. However, Ms. Rosenquist did attest that the assembly was beneficial overall because it created a safe space for students to talk about anything.
For a lot of students, it opened their eyes and connected them to one another. A lot of people don’t realize that mental health is a very big problem and that a lot of people experience thoughts of suicide in their lifetime. It was extremely valuable to many different students to know that they weren’t alone and could seek help from a lot of people. Kayla Kelley, a sophomore at George, said that she, “felt like [she] was more educated on how to help [her] friends if they were suicidal or depressed.” The assembly directly affected many students’ coping methods and ability to understand their friends and fellow peers.
The Hope and Love Foundation strives to spread happiness to kids around the country and they sure succeeded at George. As Tevin Lucas from the Hope and Love Foundation said, the best feeling in the world is “coming back to a school the next year and getting to talk to some of the same counselors and kids…and hearing so many things have changed with teacher-student relationships.” Let’s continue spreading the hope and love and helping others find the light in the dark!