In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Republic FC made a special visit to WellSpace Health to give back to the dedicated employees that operate the 988 Suicide and Crisis Center. Along with defender Damia Viader, the club surprised operators with gifts of flowers, Republic FC gear, and tickets to an upcoming match.
“These people are working every day to save lives and help people who are going through really difficult things in their lives, said Viader. “So they’re heroes, really. And it was really nice to come and meet everyone here to thank them for everything that they do.”
The call center is the second largest crisis center in California answering more than 100,000 calls, texts, and chats from across the country. “We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Sandra Funk, WellSpace Health’s Associate Director of Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services. “By working with Republic FC, we are able to connect with the community more to say that ‘988 is here, and we’re here to help in Sacramento, in California, and nationwide.’”
This season, Viader and his teammates have become advocates for the national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – by wearing a 988 patch on their home and away jerseys. “When we added the 988 patch to our kits this year, it was an opportunity to share a resource that is not only available in the Sacramento community, but nationwide as well,” said Republic FC Director of Community Investment Kevin Burdick. “So even when we’re going on the road to different markets, this patch is relevant.”
“I wear this patch with pride,” Viader told the operators. “It’s important for people to know about 988, and by just wearing this patch we are telling fans that it’s ok to ask for help and that there are people ready to help them.”