A grueling 211-mile endurance challenge earlier this month helped to fund research centering around traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention.
The “Monster Mash,” sponsored by INVI MindHealth, brought together former U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. Army Green Berets and professional athletes.
“Today, I have lost more SEAL teammates to suicide than war. The current medical system is failing our community when it comes to mental health, and we are in desperate need of new tools and resources,” said U.S. Navy SEAL veteran and CEO and founder of INVI MindHealth Jonathan Wilson.
Wilson explained that INVI MindHealth leverages wearable technology to identify struggling teammates and create the human-to-human connection needed to overcome adversity.
“Our mission is to save lives, and just like on the battlefield, we will not stop until we have achieved mission success,” he said.
Wilson described transitioning from the military as “hard.”
“We’re out here without our brothers and sisters, trying to figure out where we fit in,” he said. “It’s hard.”
Wilson said the mantra in the military is “suffer in silence.” He added if a service member raises their hand asking for help, they often find themselves off the team. Mission pace also prevents service members from working through mental trauma, Wilson said.
“The second people get out of the military with that mentality, they start taking their lives,” he said. “They don’t know how to communicate what’s going on.”
Through the Monster Mash, INVI Mindhealth and the participating veterans and athletes shined a light on the veteran community and the need for additional studies and funding around mental health for the nation's service men and women.
“I’ve gone through my own pain and suffering and I realize the tools currently in the system are falling short and I just raised my hand with some other colleagues of mine and said we want to do something about it,” Wilson said. “There’s always a solution.”
Participants began the event on Nov. 6 by skydiving a mile into the Bighorn River in Wyoming. Over the next four days, participants completed a 10-mile swim and 200-mile run. The event culminated with a fundraiser dinner on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Proceeds from the Monster Mash benefited The Invisible Wounds Foundation.
Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.