Friday, November 13, 2015

TGIF - Mission 22

Every day 22 American veterans take their own lives due to PTSD. These men and women are living with a pain that most of us, even most other veterans, can’t imagine. It’s a different world, and it’s a world that cannot be fully understood from the outside. Many of us can identify related issues, and this can help us to understand, to empathize with these impossible feelings, but some things can’t be known without being experienced. The isolation this causes can lead down some horrifying roads leading, ultimately, to that horrifying statistic. Twenty two American veterans take their own lives every day because of PTSD.

Mission 22 was established by Delta Force and Special Forces operators Tom Spooner, Magnus Johnson, and Mike Kissel to raise awareness of this issue and, by raising awareness, to help the people who believe themselves unable to be helped. The insidious nature of PTSD is that it often convinces the sufferer that he or she is completely alone, that no one else can know this horror and no one else can understand. The idea behind Mission 22 is twofold: make sure that veterans suffering from PTSD know that they are not alone, and reminding the rest of us that these people need to know they are not alone. The people most at risk are often the very people least likely to ask for help. Through Mission 22, it is hopped that everyone becomes more aware, and more ready to ask for, give, and receive help.

This week, we celebrated Veterans Day in the U.S., but we need to remember that many of our veterans are not celebrating. They’re hurting and they’re dying. No one who has risked life and limb for the rest of us should ever be left to feel alone, and too many of these men and women are dying alone. Reach out, volunteer, and help. Check your six. If you know a veteran, be a friend. If you don’t know a veteran, maybe you should.

At risk veterans, you have a part to play as well. Talk to your friends. Let them help you. There is no stigma to needing help. Accepting help is not weakness. Asking for help might be the toughest thing you ever do, and that takes strength like nothing else.

If you can get involved with Mission 22, please do. If all you can do is spread the word, that helps too. It’s all about raising awareness, and we will keep raising awareness until that 22 becomes 0. We need to make sure our veterans know that they are not alone. Never alone!

I joined the mission. Will you?

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