Team Edwards ‘pushes’ for suicide prevention

Senior Airman David Corley and Airman 1st Class Andres Simmons of the 812th Civil Engineer Squadron join Maj. Kevin Hooker and Airman 1st Class Gabriel Osirus of the 412th Medical Operations Squadron in their first set for the 22-Push-Up Challenge.

Twenty-two veterans are lost to suicide every day, according to a 2012 Department of Veterans Affairs report.

In recognition of September being Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Team Edwards is recruiting individuals to participate in the 22 push-up challenge. This challenge is meant to raise awareness of the alarmingly high suicide rate among veterans.

Members of the military, civilians, contractors, dependents, and everyone associated with Team Edwards are invited and encouraged to participate in this awareness campaign. The goal is to have 1,000 people sign-up for the challenge and complete a total of 484,000 push-ups across the installation.

The Veterans Administration updated the 2012 report with updated estimates this year that suggest the number of veteran suicides has decreased to 20 per day. However, other studies have indicated that the number could be as high as 30 per day due to underreporting or not being able to confirm the death as suicide.

Over the course of the month, informational booths will be strategically placed across the installation to get people to sign-up and commit to the 22 push-up challenge. The booths will include pledge sheets and helpful information regarding suicide awareness and support resources. Additionally, some units will have their own POCs to garner pledges.

After learning about the staggering veteran suicide statistic, Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. started the #22KILL movement in 2013. It aims to raise awareness not only about veteran suicide, but also about the mental health issues that can potentially lead to suicide. The movement’s name is meant to grab people’s attention and raise awareness about the issue.

The 22 push-up challenge is a commitment to do 22 push-ups for 22 days. Videos of people taking the challenge are frequently seen on social media. Adults, kids, celebrities, professional and Olympic athletes, and people of all shapes and sizes have been participating in the challenge to raise awareness for veteran suicides.

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