USL’s Sacramento Republic FC Raises Awareness for Suicide and Crisis Lifeline with Jersey Patch

USL Championship side Sacramento Republic FC is hoping a new partnership will help people in crisis get the resources they need.

The club announced on Friday that its first team and academy teams would wear a patch on the right sleeves of their jerseys this season promoting the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which callers across the United States can access by dialling 988.

The first of its kind partnership is designed to bring awareness to suicide and mental health concerns and crisis, provide resources for those in need – for people in distress or their loved ones looking for help, and continue to elevate conversations about community wellness. 

Republic FC and its partners will create an important conversation point that can help save lives when the 988 patch is seen weekly in every community where the team takes the field, nationally as broadcasters talk about the importance of the crisis line when they see the patch, and every time a fan wears the jersey regardless of the city.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control says that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people and was the 10th-leading cause of death overall in the country before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that, for every person who dies of suicide each year, 316 people seriously consider it.

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was founded as a 1-800 number in 2005; since then, they’ve received more than 20 million from people in distress. The number switched to 988 in November 2022, and supports phone calls, chats and text messages from both people who need mental health support and people who care for someone in need.

Courtesy Sacramento Republic FC

“Help is only three digits away for anyone, at any time. And this resource completely cuts out the stigma for someone who is thinking about reaching out for help. I lost a very dear friend to suicide last year and I just can’t help but to wonder if there was an easier path for him to reach out and ask for help,” said Scott Moak, the Republic’s vice-president of community investment. “We hope that by the end of this season every soccer fan, friend and family of a soccer fan, and anyone who comes across this initiative will know what 988 is there to do.”

“The need for mental health services and support for people in crisis continues to increase, and helping bring 988 to everyone’s attention is an effort Western Health fully supports. We want 988 to be as well-known and available as 911 is for medical emergencies, and this campaign and partnership is just a start to bringing that awareness to everyone,” added Garry Maisel, president and CEO of club sponsor Western Health Advantage.

A mockup of Republic FC player Luis Felipe with the new 988 jersey patch. (Courtesy Sacramento Republic FC)

A portion of the proceeds from every Republic kit sold with the patch will go toward mental health and wellness initiatives spearheaded by non-profit groups in the Sacramento area.

The 988 patches will make their debut on Saturday, March 18, when the Republic host the Charleston Battery in their home opener at Heart Health Park in Sacramento.