A Powerful Reminder

A Powerful Reminder

00xp-VETS1-master675-v2‘Buddy Check on 22!’ Veterans Use Social Media to Fight Suicide

“Buddy check on 22! Where are my warriors?!” That was how E. Michael Davis, a former army sergeant, greeted his Facebook friends one afternoon last month.

One-by-one, the men and women who had been deployed with him in Iraq and Afghanistan checked in. Many were executing the most mundane of life’s tasks, but they were still alive: Working a long shift. Heading home for a beer. Exercising. Listening to music at the moment, thanks.

It was March 22. To many civilians, just another Tuesday. But to thousands of veterans and active duty soldiers, the 22nd of every month is a reminder to make a suicide prevention spot-check on former comrades. A Department of Veterans Affairs study in 2012 said an estimated 22 veterans committed suicide every day in 2010. While other studies calculated a lower tally, closer to one or two per day, the number 22 has taken on potent symbolism on social media, from roll calls to push-up challenges.

For the entire article, please click The New York Times

Photo:  Zachary Ziegel and other Marines attend a funeral in 2015 for Sgt. Austin Noble, one of the men who served with them in Afghanistan. Mr. Ziegel keeps a Buddy Check 22 Facebook page to help them keep track of each other. Credit Hayden Noble

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