Madeira HS group shines light on mental health: ‘You’re not in this alone’

Updated: Jan. 21, 2020 at 6:48 PM EST
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MADEIRA, Ohio (FOX19) - Inspirational signs have popped up along Miami Avenue in Madeira, and if you follow them, they’ll eventually lead you to Madeira High School.

The signs come from Madeira High School’s Hope Squad, a group of 18 students who work to shine as spotlight on mental health.

“So, when you’re driving out there and you see signs that say things like ‘Radiate Positivity’ or ‘You Matter’ or ‘You’re Not in This Alone,' I feel like it really softens your heart towards the cause,” Senior Sophia Gugino told FOX19 NOW.

“Everyone is like, ‘These signs are so cool!’" Senior Johnathen Thiele said. “And I’m like, ‘I know!’”

“It feels great that I can help people," Senior Katie Zack added, “that they’re lost but I can help someone find their way.”

This week is Hope Squad’s official launch, and the signs are part of their introduction to the school and the community.

“It’s just a chance for us to spread positivity and messages of support and encouragement,” Hope Squad Advisor Kelli Candella said.

The Hope Squad has worked behind the scenes for some time.

Their ultimate goal is to save lives.

“I think that every school has been dealing with students who are struggling or battling mental health," Candella said. “The experience of suicides has had an incredible impact on our community as well. We’re not alone in that.”

Hope Squad students will work with their peers to show them that their lives matter. They say they do this through listening, being kind and, if needed, referring teens to an adult who can help.

“The little things are everything. Like, you don’t know what somebody’s struggling with,” Gugino said.

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