Team Butkus hosts suicide prevention Bears tailgate


CHICAGO — Team Butkus — the foundation of the son of Bears’ hall-of-famer Dick Butkus — partnered with a Chicago bar to put on a Chicago Bears tailgate event in support of suicide prevention Sunday.

Team Butkus partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Rizzo’s Bar & Grill on North Clark Street to put on the event, which took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Wrigleyville.

Dick Butkus’s son, Matt, started Team Butkus earlier this year to honor the hall-of-famer’s legacy, while also giving back to the community and shining a light on a different cause.

“I have a good friend whose dad recently committed suicide about a month ago,” said Matt Butkus. “With depression and all the stuff that went on with the pandemic, this is a time to get out and celebrate.”

A portion of the proceeds from the tailgate benefited the AFSP, with those who bought a ticket to the tailgate also having the option to make a direct donation to the AFSP.

According to the AFSP, progress has been made over time when it comes to mental health awareness. According to Angela Cummings from AFSP – Illinois, since the 988 suicide and crisis hotline was established in July, the number of calls has increased 70%.

“Demographically, 70% of suicides are middle-aged white men, and they die at a rate almost four-times that of women,” Cummings said. “So, this was a perfect event for us to have a touchpoint with a key demographic that still needs to hear that messaging, get that awareness and know how to find resources.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, help can be found by calling 988 or sending ‘TALK’ via a text message to 741741. Online, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also offers resources to get help.

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