Mental Health on Campus: A Series by Students Gov. – Joshua Rivedal

One hundred and twenty-nine American people will attempt to end their life today.

This is the U.S. average, and with it comes the stigma of discussing depression and mental health. The only way to combat the taboo around this is to discuss it, but how do we start that conversation?

Sometimes the advice we give when life seems hopeless is “everything happens for a reason.” It’s light, easy, and adaptable to any situation.

However, to Josh Rivedal, a guest speaker at Edmonds Community College this month, it’s just about the worst thing you can say.

To him, it’s trite and insensitive in every situation. “It’s better to simply say, “I love you, I don’t understand but I want to, and I’m here for you,” Rivedal wrote in his HuffPost article about surviving the holidays after loss,

His knowledge of suicide prevention, mental health, and diversity speaks for itself.

“More people need to understand that mental health isn’t all in your mental, it’s just health. You have to take care of yourself,” Rivedal said in a phone interview before the lecture. “If I could tell everyone just one more thing? Try to get someone else’s perspective. When things are bad we tend to lose sight of all that, and friends or family can help us get a bit of that back.”

But why would you take his opinion on this?

Eight years ago, Rivedal saw the lowest points of his life below him, metaphorically and literally. A 40-foot-drop was a step away, and behind him was the loss of his father by suicide, a seemingly hopeless career path, as well as abandonment from his mother and girlfriend.

Instead of taking that step forward, he moved back, got help and started his journey to recovery.

Four months after deciding not to end his own life, he did his first stage show talking about suicide prevention. Since then he’s done over 250 lectures around the country and published four books about self-improvement and mental health.

“For years now I’ve become experienced with how my depression works, and I wouldn’t say that I can avoid it directly. It’s more like… being a boxer; I bob and weave because I know how it wants to get to me. Sometimes it grazes across my forehead and sometimes it smacks me,” said Rivedal. “The most important thing is that I learn. I learned what my triggers are and how to avoid them, or at least to make things a little easier.”

For those who want to hear more of Rivedal and his works, you can attend his Triton Talk on College Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. You can also check out his website to read, learn, and listen to him interview other authors and experts on his podcast.

To those who want to seek help on campus. There are options. At EdCC there is the Counseling and Resource Center in MLT Room 145, the VA office for Veterans, and even your friends in class.

Rivedal will be speaking in the Black Box Theatre on May 14, 12:30-1:30.