The Butkus team adopts bears for suicide prevention

CHICAGO — Dick Butkus and his foundation, Team Butkus, partnered with a Chicago bar to host an event Sunday to support suicide prevention.

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

Dick Butkus’ son, Matt, started Team Butkus earlier this year to honor the Hall of Famer’s legacy while giving back to the community and shining a light on another cause.

“I have a good friend whose father recently committed suicide about a month ago,” Matt Butkus said. “With the depression and everything that’s been going on with the pandemic, it’s time to go out and celebrate.”

A portion of the proceeds from the trunk purchase benefited AFSP, and those who purchased a trunk purchase ticket also had the opportunity to direct donation to AFSP.

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

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

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