JACKSON, Miss.- Sen. Roger Wicker was joined by Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and other local law enforcement officers to participate in the 22 push up challenge on Thursday.
The online hashtag, #22pushupchallenge, or #22kill, urges everyone to do 22 pushups for 22 days to bring awareness to the suicide rate among veterans.
“Some 22 veterans per day commit suicide for various reasons here in the United States,” said Wicker. “That is far too many.”
The movement began in 2013 after the staggering statistics gained public attention. Research is being gathered, not only to understand why this suicide rate is so high among vets, but to understand the struggles they face once returning home.
“This (22 push up challenge) will raise awareness among the general population, and among families, so they will be able to look out for this sort of thing,” Wicker said.
Wicker says Congress is already making steps nationally to address the issue. They have passed bills such as the Jacob Sexton bill, that he co-sponsored, which requires every member of the military to have an annual mental health evaluation.
He says they are encouraging more mental health professionals to come and work for the VA.
“You consider the fact that at the end of the day freedom isn’t free, and the liberties we enjoy are because of the sacrifices of our veterans,” said Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber.