Keeping it Reel

CCH Alumni Helps Spread Awareness of Veteran Suicide

It is always great to see Columbia College Hollywood Alumni putting their learned skills to work; but what is even better, is seeing them use those skills to give back to their communities.

September is suicide prevention month. Suicide rates in the United States are at the highest they have been in over 30 years; and for our nation’s Veterans, we are losing them at a rate of 22 per day with a projected 8,030 per year.

Glenn Towery is an Alum and Navy Veteran who is using his talents to serve both community and country. Glenn joined the Navy in 1970. During his first tour in Vietnam, he was severely injured and later discharged. Once recuperated, he found himself lost and not understanding the state-of-mind he was in. PTSD and other emotional and trauma disorders were yet to be identified or even named. It was his love for the arts that brought clarity and helped to center him. He spent time working in theatre…and was from that point hooked.

Glenn found CCH and decided to acquire a film degree. In his travels as a student, he was able to exercise his creativity and put a tangible image to the thoughts and emotions swirling in his mind. Graduating in 1997 with Magna Cum Laude and class Valedictorian, Glenn went on to have success in independent filmmaking and won several awards.

Glenn and his wife retired to Round Rock Texas in 2013. He thought he would be spending his days traveling with his wife, but was soon called upon by a new mission. After hearing the staggering figures of our cherished Veterans suicide rates each year, Glenn knew he had to do something; but he didn’t yet know how he could help. Early one morning, he came up with a great idea to help Veterans cope with their trauma. He started by taking his camera to the local VA to interview veterans with one simple question: “If a Veteran came to you and told you that they intended to commit suicide, what would you say to them to talk them out of it?” Posting his interviews on YouTube, Glenn decided to name his channel “Veteran’s Suicide Prevention Channel”. Over the course of the next year, Glenn’s YouTube channel would expand and is now the internet channel it is today.

Glenn’s channel provides information, education, entertainment and inspiration for our Veterans who are in dire need of help and support. His channel, vspchannel.com is now a 501 (c) (3) channel and part of the Department of Veterans Affairs online system. Glenn has used his educational and entertainment background to write and produce several shows for the channel. The channel was recently featured in the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO) VSPCHannel Spotlight Blog. Los Angeles area groups are also getting involved to raise awareness and support for our Veterans and individuals who are battling depression with thoughts of suicide. Advocates recently met on Old Pasadena Bridge to speak about the alarming rate of suicides on the bridge and in the LA Area.

Columbia College Hollywood is honored to have such amazing alumni doing great things that benefit all of us. If you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text “help” to 741-741.

If you are or know of a Veteran in need, help is available at local Veterans Affairs offices and Vet Centers and through a 24-hour crisis hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.