I'm doing 22 push-ups for 22 days and posting about it on Facebook. It's one of those "viral" internet things designed to raise awareness, in this case, of the 22 veterans who commit suicide each day. This is an important issue of which we need to be aware. It's sad and it's shameful that so many are unable to get the help they need. This is true not only for our veterans but also for the 96 other people - civilians - who commit suicide each day.
According a report by the Office of Suicide Prevention, an average of 19 Veterans died per day by suicide in 2001. This number increased slightly from 2001 to a high of 21 per day in 2010, with a subsequent decrease to 20 per day in 2011 and remaining stable since that time. In contrast, the average number of civilian adults who died by suicide each day has increased steadily from 62 per day in 2001 to 93 per day in 2014. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
The Office of Suicide Prevention also reports the risk for suicide was 21 percent higher among Veterans when compared with U.S. civilian adults in 2014. This calculation takes into account statistical adjustments that I am not prepared to discuss. The point, however, isn't to minimize the significance of veteran suicide with statistics - or push-ups. The point is veteran suicide needs to be part of a larger discussion because suicide affects us all.