Valley school district launches program to help youth fight suicidal thoughts

Sep 1, 2023, 4:25 AM

Hope Institute future location...

(Chandler Unified School District Photo)

(Chandler Unified School District Photo)

PHOENIX — One Valley school district recently launched a program at a new facility to help youth overcome suicidal thoughts.

The Chandler Unified School District opened the Hope Institute, which vows to go beyond traditional treatment methods for suicide prevention, CEO of the institute Derek Lee told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday.

At the Hope Institute, patients will work with health officials to set goals, which will be measured over 6 weeks, he said.

“Depending on the needs of the student, they can be seen anywhere from one to four times a week, and that can also be a combination of individual and group sessions,” Lee said.

This form of treatment stands out from the rest, Lee explained, as typical treatments for suicidal individuals don’t have ways of measuring progress over long periods of time.

Lee said that the biggest barrier for students asking for help likely has to do more with shame than embarrassment.

“Students are made to feel like there’s something wrong with them, like they can’t talk about it, like they’re broken, and they’re not,” Lee said.

“Our kids today are going through really complex times and they’re smarter than — I mean frankly — they’re smarter than we were, they’re more mature than we were, and because they come across as more mature, we often give them more responsibilities than their young developing brains really still aren’t ready for.”

Lee said students are being given next-day appointments, and everyone’s journey is unique. Though the average treatment time takes six weeks, some students may finish it earlier or a bit later.

To learn more about programs and other schools in the district, visit online.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Anyone who needs services can call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Middle class is shrinking, lower case is growing, Valley economist says...

Middle-class Americans may not be able to afford a home, Valley economist says

Why is the middle class shrinking? Is the U.S. economy growing? Valley economist Jim Rounds answered these questions on Monday.

2 hours ago

Peoria Arts and Culture Festival 2024...

Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival to bring food, games, activities and more this weekend

Celebrate art, culture, food, games and music this weekend at the family-friendly Peoria Arts and Cultural Festival.

2 hours ago

Side by side image of teacher and his quarters....

Avondale elementary school teacher wins Bruce and Gaydos’ teacher tribute

A West Valley elementary school teacher was named KTAR News 92.3 FM's Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos' Pay Tribute to a Teacher winner for January.

2 hours ago

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) leaves a House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill on April 27, ...

Kevin Stone

Rep. Debbie Lesko excited about her future in Arizona, frustrated with Washington politics

U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko said she’s excited about the next chapter of her Arizona political career while expressing frustration about her tenure in Washington.

2 hours ago

Andrew Enriquez, 22, was arrested Thursday after allegedly shooting and killing 31-year-old Michael...

Suspect accused of fatally shooting man in Glendale after drug deal dispute

A suspect was arrested several days after allegedly fatally shooting a man in Glendale following a drug deal dispute, authorities said Monday.

10 hours ago

Dr. Elda Luna-Nájera to replace Leezah Sun's legislative seat...

Serena O'Sullivan

Elda Luna-Nájera will fill Leezah Sun’s vacant seat in Arizona House of Representatives

Elda Luna-Nájera will replace Leezah Sun as the representative of Arizona's Legislative District 22, which is in the West Valley.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Valley school district launches program to help youth fight suicidal thoughts