EVANSTON, ILLINOIS — Each year, far too many brothers and those we love are impacted by mental health struggles and the devastating ways in which these struggles can end. Sigma Chi International Fraternity is committed to providing brothers, sweethearts, friends and community members with the necessary support in their mental health journeys.
Oct. 19, 2023, marks the inaugural Sigma Chi Mental Health Action Day, or MHAD. The goal with MHAD is to distribute resources and challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness. Several chapters have already led similar events on campus, and MHAD represents the Fraternity’s internationally unified message regarding mental health support of not only our Sigma Chi brothers but the community at large.
“Each life lost to suicide has a profound impact on that person’s family, friends and community. It is a death that can be prevented,” says 73rd Grand Consul (International President) Bob Wilson, FORT HAYS 1981. “We owe it to each other to take that extra minute to ask how someone is doing, to lend a hand even when we haven’t been asked for help, to open up and tell someone how important they are to us. Sigma Chi’s Mental Health Action Day is about putting knowledge and tools into the hands of our brothers to help sharpen their own mental health skills, to step in and make a difference for someone in crisis, and to prevent the kind of tragic endings that only further tear lives apart. The Sigma Chi experience is a shared journey, and we’re going to help and support each other in making the most of it.”
Health, Safety and Wellness Committee Chairperson, Order of Constantine Sig Nathan Neal, GEORGE WASHINGTON 1983, agrees.
“Sigma Chi has prioritized the well-being of its members and others for years. The Fraternity’s partnership with the Jed Foundation in 2015 led to the creation of Sigma Chi LifeLine, the first dedicated, Greek-letter resource center for brothers struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts,” Neal says. “We have since expanded our efforts with mental health resources by developing the Strong Arms curriculum in 2018 and introducing the ReachOut app in 2019. The app offers resources and support tailored to various demographics, situations and communities and provides assistance to not only Fraternity members but anybody in need of resources. MHAD is a continuation of our desire to be our brothers’ keeper and provide that same support in our communities.”
HOW CHAPTERS CAN PLAN FOR EVENTS
Chapters should designate a brother as the Mental Health Chairman and build a committee to assist him. Once this is done, the committee should begin marketing and publicizing the event through fliers, social media posts and tabling, among other marketing strategies. Collaborate with non-Sig Greek and non-Greek-letter organizations involved in similar efforts. And, establish early communication with alumni who can assist in supporting event programming and efforts.
Programming ideas include:
- A brotherhood event that encourages bonding.
- Screening of a documentary related to mental health.
- Banners, bulletin boards or artwork that communicates positive messages and/or address a pertinent issue related to mental health.
- Display QR codes for the Reach Out app and other mental health resources.
- Conduct a speaking event related to mental health or host a wellness workshop.
- Plan a memorial ceremony for students and loved ones who have been lost to suicide.
- Solicit material donations and assemble wellness baskets for individuals struggling with mental health.
Mental Health Action Day resources can be found here, or at the button below.