“There's no monetary value to something like that. It's something that carries with it a special stigma. It's like recognition for something well done," says Darin Mydland, US Coast Guard Veteran.
Mydland, US Coast Guard veteran and current MSU Student says challenge coins play a major role for members of the military and for him personally.
“When I was serving, that's where I gained the amount of my coins. I was in the ceremony in a ceremonial honor guard in Washington D.C,” says, Mydland. “That was how they showed their gratitude for services that we did, is they would give you a challenge coin, and it's something that you carry with you, especially long after you've served.”
Montana State veterans students shared their experiences with art students, it was those experiences that became the art of these challenge coins to shed more light on veteran suicide and mental health.
“We just had an open discussion and at the end of that workshop, the veterans, students, and the school of our students got together and came up with designs for the challenge,” says Todd Bucher, Interim Director of MSU Veterans Services.
It serves as a reminder that there is support and help now more than ever, especially with the creation of 9-8-8.
“It's good to show them continuously. We've got your back. We've got each other's backs. You're extending that olive branch to those who might need help and then to those who are willing to help gather,” says Mydland.
“That way if they are ever in a situation where ‘Oh, someone's not doing good.’ You know, this is something tangible that says like, you know, besides words, you're not alone. I'm here for you,” says Bucher.
It’s an ongoing issue that affects veterans and civilians
“Montanans no different than anywhere else. We have people who need help. It's good to let them know that they've got community and support because at the end of the day, just like when we served, we have each other,” Mydland.
Mydland says checking in on loved ones is a simple act of service.
“Just like in the military it’s all about service to one another so don’t have to wear a uniform to serve your community,” Mydland.
If you or a loved one are in need of help you can call or text the national suicide hotline at 988.