The veteran and military suicide rates are staggering and heartbreaking – nearly double that of those who have not served in the United States military.
The hallmark statistic changes with each year, fluctuating somewhere between 22 and 19 veteran suicides per day (dependent upon data available to the Veterans Administration).
In early 2016, the “22” number finally stuck, manifesting with the “22 push-up challenge.” In this challenge, veteran supporters — individuals and brands alike — recorded themselves knocking out 22 push-ups, posted the video to social media and nominated others to carry the message forward.
While the challenge spread like wildfire and generated tremendous awareness, it lacked one vital element: Action for change.
Awareness, when the conditions are just right, can strike individuals in a profound way.
It was during one of those early days in 2016 - or perhaps late 2015 - when the loose idea for Combat Flags struck. Not just the idea for the Original Combat Flag, but the visceral need to sustainably support a single nonprofit dedicated to helping our brothers- and sisters-in-arms walking through the darkness alone.
Shortly thereafter (likely after scrolling through puddles of sweat on Facebook) Stop Soldier Suicide emerged as the nonprofit for Combat Flags.
Their approach is unique and proven. From wellness planning, discovery methodologies and longitudinal care, the organization is producing measurable and proven results in reducing suicidality of clients.
Here’s some proof:
- A 27% reduction of suicide risk within the first 90 days of the program
- A 26% reduction in hopelessness within the first 90 days of the program
Stop Soldier Suicide has a lofty, yet attainable, goal of reducing the national veteran suicide rate by 40% by 2030.
The organization is quickly emerging as the leading organization to drive collaboration (through sharing information, processes, best practices, proven models, etc.) across other veteran/military suicide nonprofits and governmental agencies to dramatically decrease the number of daily veteran and military suicides.
It all comes back to this: Action for change.
The founders of Stop Soldier Suicide experienced the agony and heartbreak of suicide within their own units and they took decisive action.
They’re changing lives, saving lives and meeting people where they are.
Stop Soldier Suicide recently released their "2020 Impact Report," a report detailing the extent of their work last year and their measurable impact on veterans currently in their pipeline. If you'd like to flip through the report, you can find it here.