This weekend is Memorial Day in the United States, a time to remember and honor those that served in the Armed Forces. It is a day to give thanks for the sacrifices made and to honor the lives lost. It is a day of remembrance.
According to Military.com, In 2018, the military experienced the highest number of suicides among active-duty personnel in at least 6 years. A total of 321 active-duty members took their lives. This is a tragedy of epic proportions, as often times the greatest scars service personnel wear are those unseen.
We are planting sunflower gardens around the world, with the message that hope is a skill that each and everyone of us must learn. As hopelessness is the number one predictor of suicide, we want to insure each and every person knows how to maintain a hopeful mindset, even in the most challenging times. We partnered with other organization that care about the issue, so that we can share what resources are available here and now for those struggling with hopelessness.
The activity is simple. Find a space where you can plant sunflowers – in your front yard, library, community center, church, or park (with approvals, of course). You can either customize your own sign with our template, or use ours that showcases our partners. Put the sign in front of the sunflower garden to shine a light on the issue, share resources available, and connect with others who may be in need.
We have a general Hope Training with a partner organization 7 Cups, and the 7 Cups app can also be downloaded and anyone can connect immediately with a trained listener in a time of need. 7 Cups has an online space for military members, veterans, their family and friends to connect and share support, and trained listeners for the military.
Give an Hour, another partner in our sunflower Gardens for Hope, has several programs to meet the needs of military, including spouse support, the defense suicide prevention office, and more, so be sure to check them out and what they offer.
As we plant these Gardens for Hope, we honor that we lost, and those that are still here needing support. As every person that sees the sign, has the opportunity to learn more about Hope and our partners solutions available free, and now, to those struggling. If you plant, please do post pictures and tag @ifredorg, #ChangeDirection #Hope.
Sending love, gratitude, and appreciation to all those that have sacrificed so much in support of our freedom.