Hope4Utah Team

Hope4Utah Team

hope squad

Dr. Greg Hudnall

Founder / CEO

Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall is the founder and Executive Director of Hope4Utah. He has championed suicide prevention in Utah schools and communities for over 20 years. His expertise is not only sought after locally, but also nationally, at the highest levels of government.

Dr. Hudnall is a former high school principal, student service director, and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. In 1999 he created the “Hope” community task force, focusing on community wide suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. In 2004, Dr. Hudnall and his team created the K-12 school based “peer-to-peer” suicide prevention program now known as Hope Squad.

Learn more about Dr. Hudnall at: GregHudnall.com

Greg will be on a sabbatical from May 2024 through November 2025, during which time he will be engaged in a service mission on behalf of his church.

hope squad

Cathy Bledsoe

Assistant Director

Cathy Bledsoe graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She worked as a prevention specialist with Provo City School District for seventeen years and was instrumental in implementing district prevention programs, which addressed suicide, school safety, and bullying. While working at Provo City School District she created bully prevention training for students and teachers, assisted in organizing a county-wide suicide prevention task force, facilitated annual suicide prevention conferences, and assisted in the creation of the school-based program, Hope Squad. She is currently the assistant director for Hope4Utah, a nonprofit suicide prevention organization, and is responsible for training and supporting Hope Squads throughout Utah.

hope squad

Laura Giles

Elementary • Jr. Squad Specialist

Laura Giles has worked as an elementary school teacher in Alpine School District in Utah for 20 years. She has been an elementary Hope Squad advisor for seven years and is also currently a Hope Squad elementary coach. Laura has helped many elementary schools begin and implement their Hope Squads. She is also a Hope Squads curriculum writer and certified QPR suicide prevention instructor. As a reporter and columnist for The Daily Herald newspaper in Provo, Utah, Laura has written many stories about suicide prevention statistics and efforts, especially in the state of Utah. Her piece, “Using Literature to Combat Bullying and Suicide” was published by The Utah English Journal, Volume 44.

To ask her a question about your elementary Hope Squad, click here, then click “Elementary.”

hope squad

Wendi Christensen

Elementary / Jr. Squad Specialist

Wendi Christensen, LCSW, has over 26 years of experience in the social work field doing things such as school social work, individual & marriage counseling, crisis work, grief & loss groups, divorce groups, and suicide prevention and survivor groups. One of her highlights as a school social worker was starting, writing the manual, and piloting the very first “Hope Squad.” She remembers fondly the day she and the students named the program “Hope Squad” to bring HOPE to struggling suicidal students. She currently is a parent advisor for her children’s elementary Jr Hope Squad, a Hope Squad Master trainer, QPR Gatekeeper trainer, and a liaison to Jr. Hope Squads throughout Davis & Weber Counties in Utah. She has a passion for suicide prevention and helping others find peace and healing.

Hope4Utah Board

hope squad

Doran Williams, LCSW

Associate Director • Wasatch Mental Health

hope squad

Kye Barnett

Professional Advisor • Brigham Young University

hope squad

Dr. Jeremy Cottle, PhD

CEO / Managing Director • Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital

Dr. Jeremy Cottle is Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director for Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital located in Orem, Utah. He holds a Doctorate in Counseling, Education, and Supervision from St. Mary’s University; a Master’s in Social Work from Our Lady of The Lake University; and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Weber State University. Dr. Cottle has both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric experience treating adolescents, adults, and older adults. He serves on advisory boards for Wasatch Mental Health, Utah Valley University School of Social Sciences and Humanities. He is co-chair for the Utah Hospital Association Committee on Mental Health. Dr. Cottle is passionate about “Breaking the Silence” of mental illness and filling the gaps (of mental health) where services are limited in Utah and surrounding counties. When he is not working, he and his wife enjoy traveling and recreational actives with their four children. He is an avid reader especially in the field of mental health and crime novels. He also likes to hike, fish, road bike, watch football, and barbeque.

hope squad

Lisa Savage

Savage Trucking Company

hope squad

Ron Vigoren, CPA, PC

Vigoren & Co.

hope squad

Are you at risk? Download the SafeUT app or visit their website.