Local organization established to further mental health education and suicide prevention

Rockford HOPE is a grassroots organization, begun by concerned citizens from the Rockford area. The impetus for the Rockford HOPE Group is the desire for a positive and measured response to the multiple, tragic losses of students and adults in our community during the past few years.

HOPE is an acronym for “Helping Others through Prevention and Education.” Our mission statement is as follows: “Community members working together to support organizations and individuals who educate and advocate for increased understanding of mental health and suicide prevention.”

Rockford HOPE is not a group of local mental health experts. Therefore, we are advised by Barb Hawkins Palmer, the Executive Director of Kent County Health Department’s Healthy Kent 2020; Sue Hood of Network 180 and the Coordinator of the Kent County Suicide Prevention Coalition; and Christy Buck, the Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan.

One goal of Rockford HOPE is a community collaboration, involving public and parochial schools, faith based organizations, businesses, Rockford HOPE, and community members who do not have children in the schools. We envision a partnership in which every community member works from their point of strength, with the common goal of ongoing and prevention-based mental health education.

Rockford HOPE believes that suicide is preventable, and the stigma surrounding mental illness must be eliminated. We believe it is vital to talk openly about depression, and other mental health issues, as well as suicide risk factors, prevention, and intervention.

There is a role for everyone in Rockford HOPE. We would love for you to join us! Contact rockfordhopegroup@gmail.com or find us on Facebook at Rockford HOPE Group. Rockford HOPE meets the last Tuesday of each month. The next organizational meeting is Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Rockford Freshman Center, Room 111, at 7 pm.

As an extension of our HOPE vision, a free monthly support group for parents of teens has begun as well. This group meets on the first Thursday of each month. The next parent meeting is Thursday, December 6 from 7 to 8 pm at the Rockford Freshman Center, Room 111.


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.