Michael Zibilich, LOUISIANA STATE 1970, will always know April 21, 2012, as the day when his world came crashing down around him. That day, he heard the worst news any parent can get: His son Keller Zibilich, LOUISIANA STATE 2015, was dead, the result of suicide. Now, Zibilich and his family are turning their pain into something positive by fully endowing the Sigma Chi Lifeline online mental health resource center in perpetuity with a donation in excess of $300,000.
“This is a very important first step, because if there was a Lifeline in existence on April 21, my son would be alive. He made five frantic calls prior to his death to various hospitals with no designated place to go,” says Zibilich. “Creating the Lifeline program is a grand first step in making sure no other parent has to get the news that we did, and we applaud Sigma Chi for doing it.”
To that end, Sigma Chi Lifeline is a resource for Fraternity brothers, their family and their friends by making educational materials and trained professionals readily available to them via phone or Internet, ensuring that anyone feeling overwhelmed, depressed or dealing with suicidal thoughts and impulses has access to a support network when he or she needs it most.
“Since the Lifeline program was started, we’ve had a huge number of hits on the telephone hotline from people who needed help,” says Zibilich. “Somewhere in that number, there were very serious calls and someone got help. It’s anonymous and we’ll never know the number, but it’s real.
“Keller’s life is a prime example that this can happen to anyone,” he continues. “Kids sometimes feel like they can act as if they’re jumping out of a plane without a parachute, and will be fine. It’s our job to give them the parachute, and that’s exactly what Lifeline does.”
Visit the Sigma Chi Lifeline website for more information, or contact Matt Coffin, DEPAUW 2013, director of leadership programs at Sigma Chi International Fraternity Headquarters, at (847) 869-3655, ext. 251; for immediate help, call 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).