A US government study finished in 2012 suggested that on average, 22 veterans of foreign wars commit suicide every day. This is a troubling statistic that La Crosse's YMCA veterans committee wants to bring into public light.
At 7:00am on May 28th they held a walk, 22 miles long, in reference to this statistic. The walk began in La Crosse at the YMCA, wound throughout La Crosse and Onalaska, and stopped for a small memorial service at the Onalaska American Legion. Eventually it wound through to Riverside Park and back to the YMCA.
The goal of all this was to honor those lost, and ultimately alter the way communities think about mental health in general.
"A lot of people treat mental illness as a really bad thing," said YMCA North Wellness Director Christopher Matt. "Some people are ashamed to come out and say that they're depressed so... just bringing more awareness to mental health will help some of those people come out and talk about it more."
The last mile of the walk was meant to represent that very initiative, called Change Direction. More information can be found on their website.