For several years veterans have implemented #BuddyCheck22. “Buddy Check” is a pretty straight forward term, check on your buddy. The “22” is in reference to the 22 veterans a day that take their own lives. Veterans make up a fifth of all suicides in the United State every year. Veterans who were tired of loosing their brothers and sisters in arms to suicide at this alarming rate, decided to take action. They implemented the Buddy Check 22 system utilizing social media. On the 22nd of every month across many social media platforms someone will simply post “Buddy Check” and the response is overwhelming. Veterans will reply “check” and that is all it takes.
From this simple phrase, a series of movements have spawned. The most prevalent one is “22 Until None”. The focus of these movements is to minimize or eliminate the veteran suicides and to let others know that there is someone out there that cares about them.
This movement has lost steam as time has gone by, but that does not deter veterans from checking on their friends. It is imperative that we continue to push this movement and expand it to all who fight their demons. We need to check on everyone and ensure that they are OK.
While the 22nd of each month will focus on veterans, the 1st of the month should be when the rest of society focuses on everyone. Checking on your friends and family on the 1st and letting them know that they have made it through yet another month, will give them a sense of accomplishment and to look forward to the month ahead.
Let us continue to move forward in removing the stigma associated with PTSD and mental illness. It is our responsibility to be our neighbors keeper and check on them to ensure that they are doing well.
On this, the 22nd of the month, I ask you; are you OK? If not, please let me know and we can talk (firstname.lastname@example.org subject “I’m not OK”).