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UWM Fraternity taking proactive approach to suicide prevention

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Posted: 4:32 PM, May 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-10 09:37:52-04

With May being mental health awareness month, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee fraternity is taking a proactive approach to suicide prevention.

Alpha Epsilon Pi is handling this delicate topic with a Rock-A-Thon.

Fraternity member Ben Slowey was rocking back and forth in a chair for 12 hours straight to raise money for those struggling with depression.

"Stay rocking all day, (I've) been up since 5:45 am, (I will) be here till 7 pm,” Slowey said.

Slowey and his fraternity brothers are hoping to help those coping with depression.

"Mental health issues affect everyone around us in some way, whether they're aware of it or not," he said.

He was in the middle of UWM's student union, where all the heavy foot traffic was.

"(I) figure there's no better way to do it than this, really open people's eyes up to how big of an issue it is to college students," Slowey said.

That's why he was rocking for 12 hours Tuesday and raising money along the way.

"I'm wired. I could do this all day, which I actually am, literally all day," he explained.

"I've suffered from anxiety my entire life," Slowey said.

And at one point he said it got really bad.

"I was in such a dark place that I had to give myself meaning again and I had no other option than to check myself into the psych ward," he said.

"I've been diagnosed with three different mental disorders. I was in there for four days and it saved my life," Slowey said.

Persevering through the issues he's dealt with by rocking is therapy, while letting people know they can overcome anything, just like he did.

"It gets better if you allow it to get better, there's so much love and beauty in this world. You never know what someone may be going through," he said.

All proceeds collected are going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The fraternity is also collecting money online and if you would like to help you can visit www.crowdrise.com/rockathon .

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