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Lately, you may have seen or heard about 22Kill on social media platforms. You might see guys and gals doing push-ups and challenging others, and really not understand what it’s all about. So I decided to shed a little more light on the subject because I feel it’s a great cause.
The mission for the people behind 22Kill “is a global movement bridging the gap between veterans and civilians to build a community of support.”
Origins of 22Kill
Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. initiated the 22KILL organization in 2013 after hearing about the terrible statistics stating that 22 veterans commit suicide every day on average.
22KILL is a platform intended to heighten public awareness, not strictly in regards towards veterans suicides, but also to address the many mental health problems that can often lead to suicide.
Most of these issues originate from conditions like Traumatic Brain Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress, plus the too common hassles of becoming a civilian again after active duty.
22KILL is directly in support of the veteran empowerment programs sponsored by HCC. This program helps veterans to maximize their abilities and appreciate their value in the community as a civilian. In addition to this, 22KILL also provides continual support for different nonprofit organizations, projects, and community events.
The Meaning Behind the Name 22KILL
Four years ago, the Veteran’s Administration released a Suicide Data Report. This report said that 22 veterans on average, were “KILLED By Suicide” (KBS) daily. “22KILL” is intended to grab the public attention. Their primary mission starts with raising consciousness towards this issue.
Suicide prevention traditionally has been a very difficult job to undertake. When you take into consideration that most people aren’t even aware of this problem, it makes the job even harder.
Before we can “fix” the problem, we have to become educated and understand the root of the problem itself and what causes it.
By becoming educated, we will be better able to identify what triggers an individual to start contemplating suicide, and deal with these issues, when they appear, instead of letting them escalate into something terrible.
The Number Controversy
When the before mentioned report was released in 2012, many people began to question the actual number of 22.
Apparently, only 21 states were surveyed, so the number seemed inaccurate. However, if you take the time to research these statistics, you will find that the number is closer to 35 suicides per day by our veterans.
The discrepancy in these numbers occurs because the VA only registers the suicides of the veterans that were enrolled in various VA programs when they committed suicide.
The average vet who decides to take his or her life usually doesn’t come from either the current War on Terror or the Gulf War.
More often, the suicide victim served in Korea or the Vietnam Conflict and isn’t suffering so much from shell shock, as they are by being left homeless and feeling abandoned by our system.
It’s important to remember however that these aren’t just numbers, they are people. Whether it’s 22, 35, or 10, each one represents a veteran that leaves behind a heartbroken family. The children, or parents that are left without a mom or dad, son or daughter.
“Battle Buddies” put the #22KILL Honor Ring™ on their right index finger. This symbolizes your “trigger finger”. When you choose to join the Team 22KILL and wear this black band, you commit to:
- Do research, and become educated about the local VA organizations and how to assist them
- Become focused on veterans strengths and speak up about the negative attitudes surrounding veterans “issues”
- Advocate for vets in a positive way
- Raise public awareness to the problem of veteran suicide, then follow it up with solutions by providing empowerment and education through a variety of programs that are offered by local nonprofit organizations and veteran service groups
- Having the belief that our veterans are our greatest asset and showing them that you give a shit.
22 For 22
Social media is a huge platform these days and it is a very good way to get your message across to others. If nothing else, by doing the 22 challenge, you will have the opportunity to get yourself into better shape.
This issue is not going to go away on its own. I believe that we as a nation have a responsibility to address this issue and do something to alleviate this terrible problem.
I encourage everyone to at least check out the #22 website and become involved in whatever way you most feel comfortable with. Please show your support for the veterans who have sacrificed so much and let them know how grateful we are for their service.