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SXSW 2020

Combating Veteran Suicide with Adventure Outdoors

Over six years ago, the VA released a study showing that 20+ veterans were dying by suicide every day. Despite advancements in pharmacy and new therapies, that statistic is holding firm, solidifying the notion that depression and suicide among the 200,000+ veterans who reenter civilian life every year is a crisis without a definitive cure.
Now there is an emerging sense that the restorative powers of nature may prove to be the missing key to successful veteran rehabilitation.
These veterans and programs are at the forefront of this movement, leading mission-driven expeditions to sail, climb, ski, and fish as a way to restore purpose and overlay trauma with life-affirming outdoor experiences. Their stories, and the lessons they have learned along the way, are now more important than ever.

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  1. Veterans often report feeling depressed and alienated in the civilian world, lacking the camaraderie and sense of purpose that the military instills
  2. Mission-driven expeditions outside can not only re-instill a sense of purpose, they can also provide healing, nurturing, and an outlet for endorphins
  3. Outdoor expeditions can play a key role in bridging worlds by uniting veterans and their civilian counterparts as peers, working toward the same goal



Stephen O'shea, Writer, FreshFly Films

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Connection & Culture
  • Level: Beginner
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