GSW Kappa Sigma chapter raises funds for suicide prevention in memory of lost brothers
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS — The Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) Kappa Kappa chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity recently raised $3,000 for suicide prevention and awareness on campus in memory of brothers who have died by suicide.
The chapter organized a barbecue chicken plate fundraiser after John Teate, a Kappa Sigma alum, suggested an event aimed at suicide prevention. Of the 38 brothers who have lost their lives since the chapter’s founding in 1969, seven have unfortunately been to suicide.
“It became evident something more should be done,” said Teate. “We wanted to make sure that not only our Kappa Sigma brothers, but anyone in our community who feels like they have nowhere to turn, were offered every possible alternative to suicide.”
The proceeds from the event were donated to GSW’s Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) which provides multiple resources to students on campus. Training, activities, and education are provided throughout the GSW campus community to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of suicide risk, prevention and early intervention best-practices.
“A big thank you to the men of Kappa Sigma Fraternity for their generous gift,” said Alma Keita, SPTF co-chair. “We hope this brings more awareness to suicide and no one else has to go through this.”
“I am really, really proud of these guys,” said Rusty Whaley, an active Kappa Sigma alum who helped with organization of the event. “The brothers worked really hard to make this a reality and proved to themselves they could pull off a large fundraiser such as this.”
With this donation, the SPTF will provide suicide prevention resources such as mental health first aid books, suicide prevention booklets, and training programs for members. Those who are trained will in turn educate faculty, staff, and students to recognize when someone is at risk, take the warning signs seriously, and know how to respond.
One in five college students reported thoughts of suicide, according to a recent study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Stress is strongly associated with a greater likelihood of suicide attempts and mental health diagnoses among the U.S. college population.
“We will put this money to good use and help save lives on our campus,” said GSW President Neal Weaver, Ph.D. “I want to applaud GSW alum Rusty Whaley and the members of Kappa Sigma who took the tragic loss of seven of their fraternity brothers and held a fundraiser for suicide prevention and awareness in their memory.”