CINCINNATI (WCMH) – The Cincinnati Bengals and Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF) are partnering to promote a new campaign focused on mental health and suicide prevention called “Kicking the Stigma.”

This campaign will focus on the important role that individuals play in helping people who struggle with mental health crises. OSPF will make $500 for every field goal made by the Bengals to 1in5, a Cincinnati-based suicide prevention group.

Recognize the signs suicide

  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Withdrawl from family and friends
  • Sudden changes in appearance, personality, sleeping habits
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Feeling disconnected or loneliness
  • Talks about revenge or being a burden to others
  • Increase use in alcohol and or drugs

Tuesday evening, during a “kick-off” at Paul Brown Stadium, the Bengals all-time leading scorer, placekicker Jim Breech, and radio announcer, Dave Lapham talked about the necessity for mental health help.

“I am very familiar with the struggles families can experience with respect to mental illness and the stigma associated with it,” said Lapham.

“Mental health is something I had to deal with from a family standpoint all through the 80s while I was playing, my ex-wife was bipolar, schizophrenic, and had major issues and I saw how it impacts the family, and how it continues to impact the family,” said Breech.

What to approach and talk to them

  • Be direct
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Make observation rather than stating an opinion
  • Validate their feelings

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 1,809 lives lost to suicide in 2019 in Ohio. Adult men between 30-65 years of age accounted for nearly 80 percent of suicides while the Buckeye State loses a child every 33 hours to suicide.

“We’re seeing suicide numbers increasing like we haven’t seen before. So we need to get the word out, we need to make sure that men, especially those over the age of 35 taking care of themselves, Understand that mental health is like any other ailment,” said OSPF Executive Director Tony Coder.

Mental Health Resources

“We want everyone to know that no one is immune to mental health challenges and work as a resource to help those in need,” said Coder.

After the program, guests and media representatives will be able to go on to the field and kick field goals as the official start to the campaign that will take place through the entire NFL season.