The suicide rate within the veteran community has been widely discussed for several years, especially following the landmark report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2012. The Los Angeles Times once reported that the prevalence of suicide among veterans is 50 percent higher than within the population as a whole. In the wake of such reports, many programs have been established to help dramatically reduce the number of veterans who experience this fate.
One of the more prominent types of events takes place on the 22nd day of each month, which is the same number that is generally cited as being the amount of veteran suicides each day. Mission 22, as it is called, will have several events on April 22 to raise awareness and reach out to those in need of support.
The veteran community has become a bit more unified in its approach toward combating suicide. The New York Times reported that social media is increasingly being used as a tool to bring these individuals together and act as a platform through which support and care can be found. According to the news provider, some groups have launched pushup challenges, while others will simply check in on the other veterans with whom they were deployed.
The source pointed out that social media is also becoming a powerful tool when coupled with geographic technologies, as maps can provide veterans with immediate locations of places where they can get support. Generally, the events that are established through Facebook and other social media websites will coincide with the 22 of each month. Although this particular tactic has not been effective at all times, it has been viewed as a highly positive movement.
The New York Times added that some participants in buddy checks and similar social media activities have viewed these activities as therapeutic, incorporating those opportunities into standing rehabilitation programs and assisting in acclimation post discharge. Awareness is one of the greatest weapons against veteran suicide and similar issues in the community, and other events are scheduled to take place this month to ensure the word gets out.
A long jaunt
Daily Journal recently reported that veterans in Mississippi will participate in what is being called a "ruck" that will span 22 miles on April 22 in Tupelo. The source spoke to one of the event's organizers, Marine Matthew Foster, regarding his experiences in putting the hike together.
"People started contacting me with their stories, about their husband or son who killed themselves," Foster told Daily Journal. "I knew it was a serious issue, but I didn't know it was right here. It is definitely a problem in our community, with guys who actually live here. It was barely on my own radar, so I would imagine normal people don't know at all."
Veterans in need of assistance when re-acclimating themselves to civilian life or struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder can find support through smaller groups, as well as government resources.