TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- September is suicide prevention awareness month. This has many organizations doing their part to shed light on this growing issue.
22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States. Military Veteran Program Coordinator at the Hamilton Center Bill Little says this number is astonishing. There's a national movement called the 22 pushup challenge and for the fourth year in a row, Little and the Hamilton Center are doing what they can to spread awareness and bring that number down.
For 22 days in September, 22 different organizations will be challenged to do 22 pushups to do just that. This is a social media campaign Bill Little and the Hamilton Center puts on for suicide prevention awareness month. It specifically brings attention to the specific number of military veterans that commit suicide every day. The goal is to connect the community while talking about suicide prevention. The center puts a tip or thought of the day with the post of those doing pushups. This is to keep the conversation about suicide, prevention, and awareness positive.
"It's the single most over-represented sub-population of any number with suicides," Little said, "It's really just about increasing awareness and September being suicide prevention awareness month, it allows us to do that with an open forum."
Little isn't the only one spreading awareness about military veteran suicide. James Bonte is a veteran who is also the secretary at the combat veteran's motorcycle association in Terre Haute. His association is hosting a 22 motorcycle ride on October 19th. This is a time for veterans to reflect and address the issue of suicide. "We just try to get our name out there and let people see us doing these rides," Bonte said, "If in the future, people know of any veteran that's needing help or needs somebody to talk to, they know they can reach out to one of us."
This goes deeper than just a simple motorcycle ride for Bonte. He and his association want to create a safe space for veterans to know they have people to talk to and know what they are going through. "We try to connect with them and make a brotherhood where they do have someplace to turn," Bonte added, "We've all been through the same thing. It's a lot harder once you've come back home and are trying to adjust."
His message to those who are struggling is this: "We'd much rather have you around" he stressed, "There are organizations and also programs out there. Don't give in."
The motorcycle ride is October 19th and starts at Amvets Post 222 in West Terre Haute at 11:00 A.M. Their ride is 91 miles long. Their goal is to have a nice, calming ride where veterans can reflect, share stories, and tackle the issue of suicide. All proceeds raised for the ride go to a family who has had a veteran in their family commit suicide.