A few years ago when Matthew coached in NC, he was first introduced to LAX-4-LIFE, a national campaign for adolescent and young adult suicide prevention awareness. I immediately thought the campaign was fantastic and hoped Matthew would always have his team participate.
LAX-4-LIFE is a wonderful intersection of both of our passions… lacrosse and suicide prevention. Matthew has coached lacrosse for about 20 years and I am a loyal fan of the sport. I became passionate about suicide my sophomore year in college as my family was rocked by my mother’s death. My previous work as a counselor also leads me to be a huge promoter of suicide prevention awareness.
At the start of the season, Matthew picked a game to be the “LAX-4-LIFE” game. As other teams do, the team would buy LAX-4-LIFE t-shirts to be worn in pre-game. I asked how could LAX-4-LIFE be more than wearing a t-shirt.
We live in a society where it is easy to wear a t-shirt for any and every cause that crosses our path. We buy a t-shirt, wear it for a day, and feel great that we supported a cause. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with supporting causes with wearing a shirt, but I find myself wondering how a cause can be assisted if it is more than wearing a t-shirt.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses. It is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years and the second among persons aged 25-34 years. It is a real concern, but it is an extremely difficult topic about which to get people to talk.
Matthew and I met with the campus counseling center. They were more than eager to assist in making LAX-4-LIFE more than a t-shirt. This week there are suicide prevention trainings, tabling with information for students, and literature to be distributed at the game tonight.
People can’t be forced to talk about suicide, but people can be given the opportunity to talk, learn, and listen… and to wear a t-shirt.