The Game Plan for Suicide Prevention

What do the NFL and TheHopeLine have in common? Besides a shared love for teamwork, of course…

Answer: September 10, 2023

World Suicide Prevention Day happens to fall on the first weekend of the NFL’s 2023 season, and TheHopeLine is joining a group of professional quarterbacks in a special campaign called 40 for 40.

How to Handle Suicide Prevention

What is My 40 for 40?

We’re partnering with Stay Here to play a role in this collaborative campaign with the goal of changing a devastating statistic: every 40 seconds, someone dies from suicide.

40 for 40  has connected with other non-profit organizations like TheHopeLine, gotten the support of former and current NFL quarterbacks, and engaged a network of digital influencers to provide help for those struggling with suicidal thoughts and offer suicide-prevention training to equip others to save lives.

Over forty NFL quarterbacks will participate in a 40-second video project to raise awareness and connect the public with the resources Stay Here has coordinated across all these organizations. With the combined networks of everybody involved, 40 for 40 is set to reach over 250 million people and provide 100,000 people with counseling resources.

Can you imagine what a difference it could make for that many people to know who to reach out to for help? TheHopeLine is proud to be part of something this big.

What is Stay Here?

Much like TheHopeLine, Stay Here is a mental health organization dedicated to giving hope to those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.

They focus their mission on four important aspects of mental health:

1. Awareness. Stay Here wants to break the silence and end the stigma of talking about mental health struggles. They hope to create change in the heartbreaking statistics we see every day by speaking out about the battles of those who are affected by mental health issues and giving a voice to those who remain silent. They also want to teach others to stay present with those who are hurting and alone.

2. Community. Stay Here uses social media, live events, and small groups to foster accountability through community, which they believe is a key factor for anyone looking to find a fulfilling life while battling any type of mental illness. They don’t want anyone to feel alone.

3. Training. The Stay Here ACT Training teaches others how to spot suicide warning signs, and save lives all around you. The ACT Training is taught in six clear segments and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. You can get trained to save lives here: ACT Training

4. Resources. Stay Here partners with like-minded organizations to connect people who are suffering with the help they need to realize their life is worth living.

TheHopeLine is one of those organizations that partner with Stay Here to help anyone who reaches out to them get connected with the resources they need. Their mission of hope is so close to our hearts that it’s in our name! And we look forward to working with them on World Suicide Prevention Day and beyond.

Why is Suicide Prevention Day Important?

The International Association for Suicide Prevention organizes World Suicide Prevention Day each year in an effort to “create hope through action.” The IASP says, “By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. Preventing suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain. You can be the light.”

On this day, organizations around the world put extra effort into their awareness campaigns, education endeavors, and mental health resource sharing. The goal is to reduce the stigma around asking for help or talking about your emotional pain. Maybe one day we can live in a world where suicide is rare instead of one of our leading causes of death. The action call of Stay Here is for “Gen Z Will Be Suicide Free.” Together organizations are working to make that a reality. 

Death by suicide is preventable. That’s why awareness campaigns can make a difference. By bringing mental health conversations out into the open, awareness campaigns help to reduce the stigma that forces so many people to hide their depression and thoughts of suicide. By advertising accessible resources, awareness campaigns also offer a real lifeline to those who don’t know where to turn.

When well-known quarterbacks in the NFL openly participate in suicide awareness and prevention endeavors, the impact can be huge. If even one person gets connected to the help they need, that’s a success. But 250 million? That’s game-changing.

How Can We Help?

TheHopeLine will be providing Live Chat Support during the 40 for 40 campaign, as we do for our own site visitors year-round! You can always help by spreading the news about TheHopeLine, but if you’re looking for more ways to participate in World Suicide Prevention Day, here’s how you can pitch in:

  • Ask Stay Here to visit your church or school. They do speaking engagements that educate large groups on mental health, and you never know who might be impacted by that kind of event.
  • Ask your school or workplace to recognize Suicide Awareness Month. It’s every September, and World Suicide Prevention Day is only a small part of it.
  • Organize an event or fundraiser of your own and donate to an organization that offers mental health resources to those in need (we’d be honored if you considered TheHopeLine. You can make a donation here - Donate 🙂). Put together a concert, a bake sale, a read-a-thon, or any kind of event that you think sounds fun and let folks know that their money will be going toward suicide prevention.
  • Give a Hope Box to your church or school so they can connect students and young adults to TheHopeLine! You can order a Hope Box here: Store
  • Share your own journey with mental health so that others know you’re a safe person to talk to about theirs. You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops, but being open and honest about your experiences when you’re chatting with friends can go a long way.
  • Tell your friends and family directly that if they’re ever feeling low, you love them and you want them to stay here. It never hurts to be clear and say, “Hey! It’s Suicide Prevention Day, so I just want to tell you that you can come to me about anything.” 
  • Text someone an encouraging message right now. Let them know they’re loved.
  • Know your resources. You can check out what we have at TheHopeLine and refer anyone to chat with a Hope Coach.  You can also have 988 memorized or saved in your phone too—calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline might save a life.

Finally, if you are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please know you’re not alone. Reach out to one of our Hope Coaches for support and know that your life is worth living. There is hope. Your life can be full of love and joy. All you have to do is stay here.

If you or a friend need support right now, please visit the suicide prevention resource page. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
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