by Rebekah Sanderlin, Guest Contributor
Did you get a Facebook invitation to join Buddy Check 22 yet? If not, you probably will. The movement started less than a week ago and it’s spreading faster than anyone imagined.
The Buddy Check 22 organizers first floated the idea last Monday and, within 20 hours, invitations had spread to more than 300,000 people, with 180,000 already signed up. Thousands of people who want to do something for veterans and Buddy Check 22 gives them a way to help.
Here’s how it works: On the 22nd of each month, you call a veteran you know. You tell him or her that you care and are thinking about them.
That’s it. That’s all there is to it.
It doesn’t cost anything but about two minutes of your time (or more if you’re a talker!) and it might just save the life of someone you love.
The “22” in the name comes from the gut-wrenching statistic that you’ve probably already heard: on average, every day, 22 veterans choose to end their own lives. When they make that choice, many of those veterans feel all alone.
A call or text from a friend might be enough to pull that person out of that dark moment and into the next one. It’s a simple and beautiful idea—and that’s why it’s taking off so fast.
You can learn more about Buddy Check 22 here.
A call from someone who cares, a reminder that none of us is alone—that’s the power that one person can have in the life of a friend. That’s The Power of 1. One simple gesture from one person really can save a life.
And you don’t have to worry about what you’ll say when you call. Just call, say hello and ask your friend how he or she is doing. Just talk.
You also don’t have to worry about what to say if your buddy needs more help than you know how to give. That’s where the Veterans Crisis Line comes in.
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential crisis resource that veterans and their families and friends can access any day, anytime, by phone, online chat or text. Trained responders—some of them veterans themselves—are ready to listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
According to the Veterans Crisis Line, some signs that your friend needs immediate help are:
- Thinking about hurting or killing himself or herself
- Looking for ways to kill himself or herself
- Talking about death, dying, or suicide
- Engaging in self-destructive behaviors like drug abuse, weapons, etc.
If you notice any of these in a veteran or service member you know, connect him or her with the Veterans Crisis Line’s 24/7/365 resources: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat or text to 838255.
The 22nd of each month is an easy reminder of how high the stakes of not calling are, but you aren’t limited to calling only on one day each month. You can call your buddy any day.
In fact, September is Suicide Prevention Month, so right now is an excellent time to let people around you know how to get help. You can add your voice to the movement on September 1st, and every day before and afterward, by using #ThePowerof1 and sharing tweets like this one:
1 call to the #VeteransCrisisLine can save a life. Dial 1-800-273-8255 & Press 1. Learn about #ThePowerOf1: VeteransCrisisLine.net/ThePowerOf1
Together, with each of us reaching out to the people we care about, we can change that awful statistic. One person, caring about one person, and sharing the information that can save lives—that’s the Power of 1.