By now you have likely heard of the high-profile initiative To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a suicide prevention effort that also aims to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health services. During 2015’s National Suicide Prevention Week, September 7 - 13, and today on World Suicide Prevention Day, the organization will be promoting this year’s theme of “We’ll see you tomorrow”. Kappa Alpha Theta and the Sisters Supporting Sisters mental health initiative have chosen to lend support to this cause by encouraging college chapters to engage their members in discussions surrounding mental health, hosting events on campus, distributing educational materials, or otherwise promoting the destigmatization of mental health and the importance of suicide prevention efforts. Across the continent, chapters are engaging in meaningful outreach, but individual members might wonder how to contribute to this important mission on a daily basis.
One answer is surprisingly simple: Be there.
A sense of isolation is a risk factor for suicide, and research has shown a strong correlation between social support and decreased likelihood of a lifetime suicide attempt. By living the motto We’ll see you tomorrow through lending a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, an empathetic word, or a gesture of support, you are participating in truly meaningful prevention and acting as a part of our mission for the widest influence for good. You’re showing those you care about that their presence is valued, their daily struggles are understood, that there is hope for better days ahead, and that you want to share in their story. It sounds a lot like true sisterhood, doesn’t it?
Our fraternity was founded on the effort to develop sisterhood and meaningful social support during a time when women were a minority on college campuses and faced discrimination and a distinct lack of support from their male peers and often their academic institutions. Our founders used the bonds of Theta to disempower their loneliness, and we can do the same, not through sisterhood in the colloquial sense—although engaging in new, exciting experiences and creating fun memories also has its place here—but by nurturing the lifelong friendships we have developed with women we know we can count on. For Theta women, We’ll see you tomorrow means living our values.
While our bond can be an important contributor to prevention, it is not enough to prevent suicide in the demanding college environment. It does, however, mean that we are often the first to notice when one of our sisters is struggling. If you believe that you or someone you know is facing depression or thoughts of suicide, please visit the Sisters Supporting Sisters website for the resource and webinar on Depression & Suicide Awareness. You can also call the free Talk One-2-One hotline, open 24 hours a day, to speak with a trained counselor about any problem large or small, at 1-800-756-3124.
To become involved with TWLOHA or to learn how you can promote suicide prevention through social media, please visit the TWLOHA website.
And to our Kappa Alpha Theta sisters: You are appreciated, you are loved, and you are a meaningful contribution to the identity of our proud fraternity. To each of you on campuses everywhere, We’ll see you tomorrow.