#22pushups Draws Attention to Veterans’ Mental Health Issues

Content warning: discussion of suicide.

If you can do a single pushup, assisted or otherwise, you can be part of a campaign to raise awareness of veteran suicide prevention. It’s a cause that could use attention — veterans in the U.S. are 50% more likely to take their own lives than people who have never served, and according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ 2012 Suicide Data Report, an average of 22 veterans take their own lives every day.

That’s the number that drives #22pushups. It’s an awareness campaign organized by 22KILL, a group which seeks to support veterans and educate the world about the mental health issues they suffer.

Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? #22pushups is similar. Participants film themselves doing pushups, share the videos online and challenge others to do the same. If that sounds like a strange way to raise awareness, you might be surprised — the Ice Bucket Challenge helped the ALS Foundation raise twice as much in donations over three weeks as they normally raise in a year, and brought public awareness of ALS to an all-time high.

#22pushups is certainly doing its part to get attention. Captain America got involved:

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris teamed up for a few morning pushups:

The Rock made his look effortless, though he received some questionable help from one of his dogs:

And our very own John Sylvester did his part (and this is only his first video for the campaign):

If you want to participate, everything you need is on this page. Remember, you don’t need to do a full 22 pushups. Just film what you can manage and use the tags to be added to 22KILL’s global total. If you have the mobility to be able to do any sort of pushups (air pushups count), this is one way to make a difference for people who face a lot of stigma and not nearly enough support.

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