LAKELAND, FL – Florida Southern College Athletics and its Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) have announced that the Moccasins will partner with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in a year-long effort to raise awareness and donations to help fight suicide.
The initiative will include "Suicide Awareness" events at select Florida Southern home athletic events throughout the year, participation in the Polk County "Out of the Darkness Walk" in December, and a number of other initiatives aimed at curtailing suicide in the United States.
"I am extremely proud of our student-athletes for taking it upon themselves to help bring awareness to the suicide crisis in America," said Pete Meyer, Director of Athletics. "It's our hope that through these efforts we can help shape the conversation about mental illness and better educate people in an effort to stop suicide."
The partnership with the AFSP will include four specific ways in which Florida Southern students, faculty, and staff, as well as the local community, can participate.
The first is the implementation of "Suicide Awareness" events at select home contests. During these events, fans will be given the opportunity to place donations in a jar when entering the event. Anyone donating $5 or more will receive a suicide awareness bracelet courtesy of the AFSP. In addition, a variety of resources will be available to help educate the public. A partial schedule of the Suicide Awareness events can be found below, and more will be announced throughout the year as teams complete their schedules.
SUICIDE AWARENESS EVENTS
Saturday, Sept. 29 – Women's Soccer vs. Tampa (7 p.m.)
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – Men's Soccer vs. Florida Tech (7 p.m.)
Friday, Nov. 9 – Volleyball vs. Rollins (7 p.m.)
Wednesday, Jan. 16 – Men's/Women's Basketball vs. Eckerd (5:30 p.m. doubleheader)
Saturday, Feb. 2 – Men's/Women's Basketball vs. Nova Southeastern (5:30 p.m. doubleheader)
Florida Southern student-athletes, coaches and staff will also participate in the Polk County "Out of the Darkness" walk on Saturday, Dec. 1. The event, which takes place around Lake Hollingsworth, will help the ASFP raise funds and awareness in hopes of reducing the annual suicide rate by 20% by 2025. More information on the walk, including registration and ways to help, can be found by clicking HERE.
A third way in which the Mocs will help make a difference is by encouraging fans to donate online through the AFSP's official website. Donations will be accepted during the entire 2018-19 academic year, and more information can be found by clicking HERE. A total of 50 percent of the funds raised through online giving will go to the Central Florida Chapter of the AFSP, while the other half will go to help efforts across the nation.
Finally, Florida Southern students will produce a series of videos and public service announcements to help educate the public about suicide. The videos will be posted on all of the athletic department's social media channels, and will be run during all live broadcasts of home events.
SUICIDE FACTS AND STATISTICS
According to the AFSP, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, taking nearly 45,000 lives each year. On average 123 people die by suicide each day in America, and the national suicide rate has risen nearly 30 percent since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
For more facts and statistics from the ASFP, click HERE.
ABOUT THE AFSP
Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against the 10th leading cause of death.
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. We create a culture that's smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:
- Funding scientific research
- Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
- Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
- Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission
With the help of our nationwide network chapters in all 50 states, AFSP is reaching those in local communities with opportunities to get involved in our programs and events. In 2017, the ASFP celebrated 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about our work in the latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.