Why #22Pushups for 22 Days for #22Kill

22 for 22 Deanna Shoss

Hey…here’s a post to accompany my 22 for 22…22 push-ups for 22 days

Why am I doing it? I took an ethics class when I was completing my masters at DePaul’s School for New Learning. A question discussed was if you see a problem in society and you know you are able to help, are you obligated to do so? I would say yes. A la if you see something, say something. Silence equals complicity, etc.

I teach aerobics so I’m good for the push-ups. And, after watching Michelle McConnell run marathons to bring water to children in Africa and end child trafficking; another friend founded a Montessori School in Englewood; another rides his bike for three days every year to raise money to combat aids. I can sit at home and do 22 pushups every day for 22 days to raise awareness for #22KILL, “a platform to raise awareness not just towards veteran suicide, but also to the mental health issues that can lead to suicide. The name “22KILL” is meant to grab people’s attention, because our primary mission begins with raising awareness to the issue.

Day 7 of #22Pushups for #22Kill

And, my family has been affected by suicide more than once. Anyone I went to school with in middle and high school remembers Mike Kerman and Greg Westeen, two young people who took their own lives, one at only 14 or 15, the other just a couple of years later.

So, suicide sucks, but there is still a stigma around seeking help for mental health. #22kill helps bring awareness to make sure that there is adequate funding from the VA for mental health and that veterans or active duty military can talk to someone about mental health issues without being penalized. PTS is real. Trauma changes the brain.

No one faults you if you go to the doctor when you have the flu and get help. In fact, people usually encourage you to do so. The same should be true for mental health related issues.

So, 22 for 22? I do it because I can. I am grateful for the service of our active duty military and veterans. It’s hard enough to be deployed, but awful to think that someone would not get the hero’s welcome they deserve upon return, and the support and help needed to resume civilian life.

Now, as an interculturalist, it is natural for me to listen if not even actively seek out what other people think about this initiative. Therefore, here are some questions either I’ve gotten or seen in researching the initiative (I always want to understand something before engaging or repeating!)

  1. This is only for US veterans?

The number of Afghan’s who died in the war was double that of Americans was one comment. So one person’s tragedy does not diminish another person’s tragedy. This is not about competitive suffering (e.g. was the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide worse? That’s a no-win question about horrific atrocities.)

There are also organizations and movements raising awareness about civilian deaths in war-torn areas. There are many other Military charities that serve specific issues and needs. The UN works to provide aid to those affected by war in Afghanistan. In fact, if you Google Aid for Veterans there are 84,500,000 results.

Plus, this is about making sure there is adequate funding from the VA for mental health care and suicide prevention, so, yes, US Veterans.

And, along those lines another note I saw was something about what about the many, many, many veterans who serve who don’t commit suicide. Again, there is much to celebrate all of those who serve in the military, from National holidays to hospitals and regional service offices to monuments and celebrations around the country.

Focusing on one issue does not diminish another.

  1. I thought you didn’t like war.

You’re right, I don’t. I like to think that nobody likes war, and that every human being would look for a peaceful solution before engaging in war. That said, there is some scary stuff happening out in the world, and I am grateful for the men and women who serve or have served, even volunteer…did you hear that…VOLUNTEER to go in harm’s way to protect my freedom and life.

  1. The number 22 is not scientifically accurate (but it’s good marketing!)

Um…who cares, I say as a true marketer. The original study looked at suicide overall, and then compared that/layered it onto military service. The number they came up with was 18-22, with a caveat saying it may not be statistically quotable. I know all this because the Washington Post fact checker took time to analyze it.

I really do love good marketing. Scrambled eggs for breakfast. Orange juice is the best source of vitamin C. Move to Greenland for beautiful Green Pastures (that was a 3rd Century marketing campaign…) That’s what marketing does. It makes things easy to pick up and consume and make them memorable.

In today’s world you have less than a second to capture someone’s attention. 22 push-ups for 22 days to bring awareness for 22 daily veteran suicides. It’s easy to remember, and it’s a significant message. Suicide is awful whenever it happens and to generalize the statistic to make it easy to pick up and package to bring awareness is a good thing.


2 thoughts on “Why #22Pushups for 22 Days for #22Kill

  1. Don! Mark was my “disco partner” in gym class during the section on dance. I actually tried to call Michael’s parents once probably about 8 or 10 years ago. I was listening to a piece on the radio, about how memories of others or sharing stories and memories can be really special for those who have lost someone..I just wanted them to know he was remembered.

    I am sorry for all of the losses you have experienced.

    Thanks so much for your note. I really appreciate it.

  2. Hi Dee Dee! That is great initiative on your part. I had no idea there were that many veterans suicides daily. What a terrible tragedy; a permanent solution for a temporary problem.

    Michael Kerman died on March 11, 1979 and Greg Westeen committed suicide just months later. His girlfriend died in a car crash along with a kid I played baseball with for years, Mark Prizer, he was out pitcher. There was also a kid named Scott Kozlowski I believe who hung himself a year or so earlier. I didn’t know him as well.

    Death has kind of followed and haunted me ever since Michael Kerman. My cousin Marion was a brilliant attorney who committed suicide in 1996. My brother George Land died in a plane crash in 2000. Way too many deaths in person, too many to list, but still I am here thinking of them often. So I am really glad for what you are don’t and I hope you get lots of traction.

    You are a great lady!!

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