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Feb 29 / Julie Alter-Kay

WSU BSW Student Honored For Campus Mental Health Advocacy

Patrick Hannah, president of the Wayne State University Student Veterans’ Organization, has received national recognition for his efforts to ease the transition from active military duty to university life for hundreds of WSU veterans. Hannah, a senior in the Bachelor of Social Work Program, will be presented with the 2012 University of Michigan Student Mental Health Advocate Award at a March 8 lunch banquet during the Depression on College Campuses Conference in Ann Arbor. The award is given annually to two students – one from the University of Michigan and one from another academic institution – who have raised awareness of mental health issues on campuses through education, outreach or advocacy. Hannah, who has been admitted to WSU’s Master’s in Social Work Program, tied for the award with a student from Cornell University.
“The mental health of veterans is receiving a lot more attention on campuses, and we were very pleased to be able to honor someone doing work in this area because it is very important,” said Trish Meyer, Program Director for Outreach & Education at the University of Michigan Depression Center and a member of the award selection committee. “Patrick stood out because he’s obviously a ‘doer.’ He didn’t just talk about change, he made it happen.”
A member of the Marine Corps from 1981 to 1988, Hannah has advocated for greater resources and support systems for WSU veterans since 2008, when he began his studies and assumed leadership of the Student Veterans’ Organization. Hannah also led the organization in creating programs that assist veterans in making the difficult transition from the military to the classroom. These include; Peer Mentoring program, Vet2Vet/Battle Buddy program, and Community Service Program, which honors the need to serve that prompted veterans to enlist in the military by giving them a continued “mission” in the Detroit community.

Under Hannah’s leadership, the Student Veterans’ Organization has forged an “innovative and unique” partnership with the WSU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), according to CAPS Interim Director Lynn G. Hill. Hill, who nominated Hannah for the award, said experts on the transition from military to civilian life have told her the collaboration between Wayne State University’s veterans and its counseling services is the strongest they’ve seen on a college campus. She said she is impressed by “the passion and assertiveness and perseverance Patrick has in terms of advocating for his fellow veterans. The military culture does not encourage them to get help. Patrick has helped to destigmatize asking for help, and as a result, CAPS has seen a marked increase in the number of veterans seeking formal psychological counseling for depression, anxiety, complicated grief and post-traumatic stress.”
The mission of the organization is to “honor those who have sacrificed and served our country by providing resources, training, and assistance for academic success.” Contact the organization at 313-577-4762 or studentvetsorg@wayne.edu. The Veterans Resource Center is located in the Student Center Bldg, Room 687.

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