Thinking Big: Solving Suicide Among Veterans

Big problems need big solutions, and Terps are often asked to “Think Big.” Tell us about a time when you encountered a problem and implemented a solution.

As a member of a military family and a resident of a military community in Hampton Roads, Virginia, I found a passion for a problem that not many people acknowledge: the high rate of veteran suicide. Tragically, an average of 22 United States veterans attempt suicide every day. A large proportion of these suicides can be attributed to the inadequate aid given to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). One tactic that has been proven to help veterans with these conditions is the use of highly trained service dogs. That tactic was the spark to my own efforts: I brought to attention veterans’ lack of sufficient treatment and highlighted service dogs as a solution.

In order to raise awareness, I hosted a 5k run/walk event called “5k for a Paws.” The tangible goal of the event was to gather money for the non-profit organization Paws and Stripes, which rescues dogs from animal shelters and trains them to assist veterans with PTSD and TBI. Indeed, I was able to create immediate change by helping Paws and Stripes purchase the supplies it so clearly needs. With my turnout of 52 participants, I was able to raise $1,200.

Another goal of my plan was to educate people about...

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