By Michael Schulte, Phi Delta Theta Chaplain
Today marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week. It is a week where we put our values into action, a week where we become our brother’s keeper by engaging in difficult conversations that have the potential to save lives.
In 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 48,000 people died by suicide in the United States. The CDC also found that men were almost four times more likely to die by suicide when compared to women. The Public Health Agency of Canada notes that men account for roughly three out of every four deaths by suicide. Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young men in the United States and Canada.
Phi Delta Theta is not immune to these trends. Each year, our Fraternity responds to several deaths by suicide among our active members. Some of these deaths happen within the chapter house, leaving brothers shocked and struggling to understand what happened.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, “talking is the first step to preventing suicide.” We must be willing to have open and honest conversations about what distresses us. We must be brave enough to speak to our brothers when they appear stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed by life’s challenges. We must be willing to cultivate a chapter culture where every member feels safe asking for help.
The bottom line is this: When we create safe spaces of belonging, we might just be saving a life.
That is why Phi Delta Theta has produced a series of blog posts that we hope will equip our leaders to facilitate difficult conversations, empowering our members to reach out for help when needed. These posts will be released daily throughout National Suicide Prevention Week. They will include education about potential warning signs, a facilitation guide for talking about suicide at your next chapter meeting, and a reflection from a former chapter president who navigated a death by suicide in his chapter.
- Recognizing the Warning Signs
- Working Towards Healing: Brave Conversations After a Death By Suicide
- To Do What Ought To Be Done: Leading a Chapter Through Tragedy
I hope these resources will be invaluable educational tools that spark conversation and cultivate a culture attuned to the mental well-being of all of our members.
Together, we can be our brother’s keeper. Together, we can prevent suicide.
If you are in a crisis and need immediate support, please call or text 988 or TALK to 741741.