September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. We are sharing educational information and the resources Sigma Alpha Epsilon provides to help promote mental health and suicide awareness.

SAE is committed to the health and well-being of our members. Together we can work to normalize the need for help. Suicide and mental health are realities that impact our brothers. 

1 in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health condition. Nationwide, 9.2 million college students are experiencing a diagnosable mental health concern. Depression affects 20-25 percent of Americans ages 18 or older in a given year. There is one death by suicide in the U.S. every 11 minutes. Suicide among males is four times higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all U.S. suicides. 

The term “suicide” comes from the root “-cide”, which means to kill. This root is commonly connected to the wrongful and criminal acts of genocide, homicide, etc. This problematic terminology describes suicide as a mode of killing rather than a mode of dying.

The term committed is also important to understand in changing the narrative around suicide. Although suicide was never a crime in ancient Rome, there was opposition reflected in cultural practices and this term echos “committing a crime.” Rather, using the term completer or the phrase died by suicide takes some of the negative stigmas away from the person. 

The leading factors that contribute to suicide include feeling alone, like a burden, and hopeless. The combination or overlap of these three factors is where suicide is the highest risk. 

SAE currently offers the QPR Online Gatekeeper Training free of charge to all collegiate members. This self-paced module aims to equip participants with the skills to recognize signs of crisis, respond to someone in crisis, and get help and save a life. We have also developed a chapter discussion guide for brothers to get together and discuss what they learned in the online module and to apply it to their chapter and campus.

SAE’s service and philanthropic partner, Movember, also offers many excellent educational resources, which brothers and chapters may use as a supplement to additional suicide prevention training.

Most college campuses have a counseling center or mental health services that offer free resources to students. SAE encourages all chapters to utilize these free resources, both for individual counseling services and for chapter-wide education.

To speak with someone immediately, contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK), contact Lifeline Crisis Chat or contact National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 800-950-6264, or Text NAMI to 741741. If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 911 or go directly to emergency services.

Information courtesy of Movember, What Good Looks Like, Active Minds, and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

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