I think it's fair to say that as a country we often take our Armed Forces for granted. We have holidays to honor members of the military, but most of us spend those days grilling and drinking with friends, or catching up on much-needed rest. Our service men and women are engaged in wars in multiple countries, and, sadly, casualties continue to mount.
The impact of serving during wartime lasts well past one's deployment period. The leading cause of death in the military is not homicide, or cancer, or accidents. It is suicide. On average (and this is likely a low estimate), 22 Veterans and one active duty soldier commit suicide each day. Suicide rates are higher for those who have served in the military than those who have not, despite lower overall death rates. The horrible symptoms of PTS (Post Traumatic Stress), combined with the challenge many face to seek support due to the perceived (and actual) stigma surrounding mental illness, has led to a suicide epidemic among our Armed Forces.
As we work to become more open about discussing mental illness, there are more and more organized efforts to reduce the stigma associated with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Raising awareness for this important issue is valuable. Most people reading this article are probably surprised by prevalence of suicide in the military. Battling mental illness is complex, and talking about it is not sufficient, but it helps our society get a bit more comfortable with this uncomfortable topic. And that bit more of comfort may lead to more discussion, and perhaps, a real reduction in the stigma to make it a bit easier for those who need help seek help.
Just like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of 2014, there is a challenge sweeping the country with the goal of bringing awareness to the problem of Veteran suicide. The 22 Kill Push-Up Challenge involves doing 22 push-ups every day for 22 days to honor the men and women who serve and bring awareness to Veterans who have lost their lives to suicide.
Check out this video of a the Texas DPS doing the challenge as a synchronized group:
And, of course, here is my version of the challenge. I performed 22 different Core Flyte push-up variations.
To learn more about Veteran suicide and how you can help, please visit Stop Soldier Suicide.
Be Flyte Fit,
Co-Founder & CEO, Flyte Fitness
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Posted on 6/21/2016 at 5:21:00 PM