The Reds hosted members of Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF), 1N5, and the 988 Initiative at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday night to help raise awareness during National Suicide Prevention Month.
This season the Reds launched their inaugural Reds Country Cares campaign, which focuses on utilizing their platform to spotlight resources that help our communities. Last week was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week, but with the Reds out of town, the organization waited for the team to return to give the necessary attention to such an important topic.
“The increasing number of suicides touches nearly every person in Reds Country,” said Karen Forgus, Reds senior vice president of business operations. “The OSPF brings their expertise and compassion to individuals, families, schools, businesses and communities who are seeking information on suicide prevention. And, they offer incredible support when coping with its aftermath.”
Pregame ceremonies included OSPF executive director Tony Coder who served as the game’s honorary captain. Also on hand were director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Lori Criss, 1N5 founder and executive director Nancy Eigel-Miller, 1N5 grant writer Abby Messner, and 988 Initiative representatives David Arellano and Toni Morrison. OSPF, 1N5 and 988 Initiative work together year-round to help prevent suicide by erasing the stigma of mental illness and promoting optimal mental wellness. The Reds also teamed up with these organizations to promote Mental Health Awareness in May.
“With mental health being at near crisis level, we are proud to partner with the Cincinnati Reds on suicide prevention and mental health wellness,” Coder said. “They are a megaphone that reaches many of those who need help, and we are so grateful for their collaboration on this crucial issue.”
These groups act as a catalyst for and steward of suicide prevention activities across the state of Ohio. OSPF is an organization that works to bring about changes in attitudes and perceptions surrounding suicide and its relationship to mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, and other issues. In partnership with OSPF, Reds Radio Network broadcaster Tommy Thrall recorded a discussion with the team’s manager of wellness & education Becky Schnakenberg on the importance of mental health. Segments from this conversation have aired and continue to run on Reds on Radio broadcasts throughout the season to help bring more awareness to Reds Country on this pivotal subject.
“The Reds encourage everyone in Reds Country to contact the OSPF and be better equipped to deal with the rise in suicides,” Forgus said.
OSPF also works closely with the 1N5 foundation. The name 1N5 represents the 20% of all individuals who will experience mental illness at some point in their lifetime. 1N5 is best known for its suicide prevention and mental health education in 110 schools K-12 and 150,000 students in the Greater Cincinnati region, as well as six local universities.
The 988 Initiative was formed to create conversations around mental health and suicide prevention, while also raising awareness for the new 3-digit National Suicide Prevention number, 9-8-8.
For additional information on the efforts by these organizations and to learn more about the Reds Country Cares campaign, visit reds.com/unity.