Content Warning: This piece contains mentions of suicide.
On September 25th, 2018, our chapter of Active Minds at Eastern Michigan University located in Ypsilanti, Michigan hosted a lobby tabling event in our student center. The purpose of the event was to honor the 18-22 veterans who die by suicide every day and to spread awareness for veterans suicide. After learning this statistic, our chapter decided we had to do something to show veterans that there is hope and resources out there for them. In addition, our chapter is big on collaborations — we love to work with other student organizations to learn more about what’s happening on campus and to spread the word. We reached out to the Student Veterans of America chapter at EMU to work with us and they were so willing, and such a passionate and genuine group of students.
For the event, we had students, staff, and faculty come do 18-22 pushups. Once they completed the push-ups, they got some free Active Minds or Student Veterans of America merchandise, such as a stress ball. There were also resources provided on the table for students to take, such as information on counseling or local resources for veterans.
The event was very well received by the campus and many students participated during their lunch break. There were many laughs to be had, but also many important conversations about veterans’ mental health and what we all can do to help.
A high percentage of veterans have a diagnosable mental health condition, like Major Depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However they face many barriers to seeking treatment, such as stigma, long wait times for treatment, and logistical problems. We had a sign at the event that said 18-22 to none. That’s the goal: to end veteran suicide.
Here are some highlights of the day:
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Stop by the student center from 10-2 today! We will be having lobby tables with the student veterans for America to raise awareness for suicide among veterans. Come get free stress balls and pins and participate in a pushup contest in honor of the 22 veterans a day that die by suicide.