Mental Health

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hope squad members

Mental Health 

With the safety and well-being of our students as a top priority, we recognize that strong mental health plays a vital role in a student's growth and success. Lakota has implemented several mental health initiatives to address this important need.


Lakota has partnered with MindPeace and the area mental health agencies to help increase student access to high quality and affordable mental healthcare. Licensed therapists from partner organizations have offices at many Lakota schools and are available for consultation during the school day and after school hours, as needed. Click here to learn more about the MindPeace program at Lakota.

Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. 

Read more about Social Emotional Learning at Lakota.

Hope Squads

Lakota Local Schools, in partnership with Greater Cincinnati’s Grant Us Hope, were one of the first in the area to pilot Hope Squad, a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program. Lakota East and West implemented the program in 2018 and based on its success, Lakota plans to introduce Hope Squads at its junior schools during the 2019-20 school year.

Hope Squad members are students nominated by their peers, and then trained to identify at-risk students, provide friendship and seek help from an adult.

“Hope Squad’s mentality to put students at the center of the solution aligns perfectly with Lakota’s student-centered approach to everything we do,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “Oftentimes, students confide in one another more than the adult figures in their lives, which makes a program such as Hope Squad all the more effective. Every layer we can add to our safety and security plans is another layer of protection for our students.”

Every month, through the duration of the school year, Hope Squad provides program advisors with a detailed curriculum that guides education and training of their student representatives. The Utah-based program also builds in a data and evaluation plan that allows partner schools to monitor outcomes and adjust accordingly.

Whether it is passing out free hot chocolate on a cold day or sharing post-its to encourage kindness, Hope Squad encourages not only its members but the entire school to reach out to other people and to show compassion.

“By building and strengthening bonds between people, it lets everyone know that whatever they’re dealing with, they don’t have to face it alone,” said East student Allison Browning. “It helps make kindness more prevalent not only in our school building and community, but in ourselves as well.”