Vet's Post

A Veteran's Mission to Fight Suicide

Former Marine reservist Zach Ziegel started Buddy Check 22.
Freddy Groves, June 2016
Posted

Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide.

Let’s parse that statement: 22 veterans, suicide, each and every day.

That number hasn’t changed since the Department of Veterans Affairs started keeping track, and it’s suspected it might be low. One man, however, has stepped forward to try to bring that number down.

Former Marine reservist Zachary Ziegel was equally stunned by the suicide rate, which is twice that of the civilian population. Buddy Check 22 was born. He designated the 22nd day of each month to call at least one veteran and check in. In one day, he had 180,000 hits on his Facebook page.

Isolation is a big part of the reasons for suicide. Check-in phone calls will let a veteran know someone cares and is out there. Here are some things you can do:

• Send an email to everyone in your contact list and ask for their help in contacting a veteran to check in.

• Call one or more of your veteran friends and ask how they are doing. If things don’t sound right call in reinforcements in the family and let them know of your concern.

• Don’t leave out your female friends in either enlisting them to participate or calling to check in. The suicide rate for women veterans is a whopping six times the civilian rate.

• If you’re part of a veterans support group, consider adding Buddy Check 22 to the list of what you do for veterans.

Keep these resources handy in your wallet:

• Veteranscrisisline.net.

• The 24/7 VA Crisis Line number: 1-800-273-8255, then press 1.

• To Get Help NOW: Text to 838255.

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