Features

Seize the Awkward

By Nancy C. Snowden —

As Zeta Beta Tau and its many brothers and alumni celebrate many successes during the start of 2019, the topic of mental health and brotherhood remains on the minds of many. The Fraternity’s Mental Health Committee, along with many other brothers and stakeholders, continues to investigate ways that the Fraternity can provide resources and support for brothers in a time of need and prepare others to engage in a conversation that can sometimes feel awkward.

In partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), we are excited to share their “Seize the Awkward Campaign” which focuses on taking advantage of the sometime awkward silence to check in with a friend or a brother and ensure they are doing okay. AFSP shares that “Seize the Awkward a campaign encourages us to reach out to a friend if we are worried and signs to look for.”

Taking a moment to talk with your brothers can be a simple but powerful way to check in and ensure they know someone is there to listen and help during difficult times. On the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Seize the Awkward website you can find many resources, like the introductory video to seizing the awkward “The Awkward Silence

The premise of Seize the Awkward is simple, and can be summarized in 3 easy steps:

  1. Recognize the Signs
    • Does your friend or brother seem angry, sad or stressed?
    • Have they not seemed like themselves or been distant?
  2. Just Ask
    • Use open ended questions.
    • “You haven’t seemed like yourself, are you doing okay?”
  3. Just Listen
    • Be there to listen, but not as a therapist.
    • Check back in! Be sure to follow up and check in to make sure they are doing better, or accessing resources that can help.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention wants you to know that you are not alone and help is always available. Get immediate support for yourself or a friend 24/7.  Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting SEIZE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend or brother safe.

Follow along with Seize the Awkward on Instagram to learn more about mental health, talking with your friends and brothers and how to engage in seizing the awkward.

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