This year, we challenge everyone to go beyond awareness and take the #Check22Challenge.
Between now and Veterans Day, dedicate a total of 22 minutes (3-4 minutes each week) to check on the veterans in your life. Texts, calls, messages, and impromptu visits can make a big difference to someone in their darkest hour or someone who is slipping into isolation.
How to Join the #Check22Challenge
- Commit to spending 3 or 4 minutes each week to call, text, message, or visit a veteran in your life and/or your shipmate, battle buddy, wingman, etc.
- Track your checks. After you complete your weekly #Check22Challenge activities, let us know on social and/or use #Check22Challenge in your own posts.
- Show your support by posting a photo of you and your veteran/shipmate/battle buddy in the week leading up to Veterans Day. Be sure to use the hashtag #Check22Challenge.
- Encourage others to take the #Check22Challenge.
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One of the most publicized statistics around veteran suicide is 22, or the number who die by suicide each day. Awareness campaigns have done a great job of informing the public of the veteran suicide crisis. But awareness alone isn’t enough.
Veterans who die by suicide are often isolated and hesitant to ask for support. Many bury their struggles, turn to substances, or feel they must carry their mental health challenges alone.
Veterans feeling that they must carry their mental health struggles alone goes against the most basic lessons of military training: you are on a team and cannot achieve the mission alone. Here are some tips for breaking through the isolation during the #Check22Challenge:
- Start simple. Making that first call can be awkward. Start your #Check22Challenge with a simple greeting and a “how are you?”.
- Stay humble. If you are doing great and the veteran is struggling, try reminding them of a funny or embarrassing moment when you needed help and they bailed you out.
- If you’re a veteran:
- Remember your training and that you were part of a team. Let this motivate you to check on and connect with your fellow veterans.
- Look through old photos and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from recently.
- Look for local events. Sometimes having a reason to catch up helps.
- Meet at a VFW, American Legion.
- Attend a local veteran/military-focused event together.
- Plan a Zoom call or Google Hang with mutual friends to catch up.
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