NFL Demonstrates We All Have a Role to Play in Advancing Suicide Prevention
As a member of the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, I am honored to be a part of a pioneering effort to engage public and private sector resources and support to bolster a coordinated national response to suicide. Working to bring about enduring change in the way our communities and various sectors address this issue has shed light on some of the challenges we face. One such challenge—one that presents an enormous opportunity for advancing suicide prevention—is the awareness that few businesses recognize the enormous role they can play in preventing suicides in the community by raising awareness of suicide risk and encouraging a culture that makes it okay for employees to reach out for assistance. But this month, the National Football League launched an outreach campaign that represents a critical step forward in demonstrating the role employers can play in helping the Action Alliance reach its vision of a nation free from the tragedy of suicide.
In recent years, the NFL has augmented its network of support services for current and former players, taking a holistic approach to total player health and providing benefits and services to help players succeed in all aspects of life. Many of us watched as Junior Seau’s tragic suicide was reported on the news. In the wake of tragic suicide deaths of former players within the NFL community, however, the NFL recognized the need to do more. In an effort to develop a responsible approach to the issue, the NFL reached out to several members and partners of the Action Alliance for guidance. The result led to the launch of the NFL Life Line, a service tailored to meet the specific needs of the NFL “family”—including current and former players, coaches, team and league staff, and their family members.