Fraternity working to give KU students struggling with mental health a ‘lifeline’

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A KU fraternity is making mental health a priority, and they're trying to get other Greek organizations to join them.

Lambda Chi Alpha, a national fraternity with a chapter at KU, announced Wednesday it's teaming up with the nonprofit, The JED Foundation, to protect emotional health and prevent suicide in teens and young adults.

“We are ahead of the curve in realizing that we aren’t the experts on this, so let’s partner with the people who are," Lambda Chi Alpha's KU chapter President Christian Wead said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 75 percent of all people with an anxiety disorder will experience symptoms before age 22.

College life can provide additional stress including grades, finances, homesickness and parents' and students' own expectations. That's not to mention social media.

“Every day so many college students -- I do it myself -- you get on your Instagram or Twitter feed. You look at everyone else’s lives, some of their highlights, and you compare those to some of your low lights," KU Interfraternity Council President Kyle Svboda said.

Svboda heard powerful testimony just last weekend from parents of a college student who took his own life.

He’s meeting this week with KU's Panhellenic Association and its member sororities to talk about creating KU’s first ever Greek mental health awareness week. The University of Kansas already offers Counseling and Psychological Services through Watkins Health Center.

“It may not come with the mass programming, the mass education from the university standpoint. What really makes an effect is talking to your brother, talking to your sister and just asking them how they are doing?” Svboda said.

“Even if this helps one person, it’s totally worth it," Wead said.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.

Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.

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