On Sunday I was nominated by a friend of mine, Jeff Miller, to take the 22 push-ups for 22 days challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to spread the word about mental health issues that face vets. There is a widely circulating statistic that 22 vets die every day by suicide, and although that number is more “catchy” than factual, the real truth is that vets face serious issues when they return home from the service that we ask of them.
The stigma of depression can be truly crippling for people who serve and it’s vital that those who need help get it as soon as they can. The Veteran’s Crisis Line is a resource for those in need, and there are other local community resources that can help people who are struggling, not just with depression, but with overcoming the perceived stigma that often stops people from asking for help. It’s also why groups like Defeat the Stigma Project are so important, to help people realize that mental illness isn’t a weakness, it’s just part of being human sometimes.
I ran with Jeff’s wife on Sunday during Afton, and I think that reminded him that I exist, and so he added me to the list of people he’s nominated. Much like the ice-bucket challenge you’re supposed to nominate people each day. I don’t really have 22 friends that I would nominate, but I will try my best to do the push-ups every day. Attempting 22 push-ups in a row was hard, incredibly hard, but I’ll do my best to keep it up and help spread the word about veterans and suicide.