Callsign 22 was born from a simple conversation between two former Green Berets trying to reconcile with their past. What came from that discussion was the overwhelming realization that the path to better mental health doesn’t have to be a lonely pursuit. In fact, it shouldn’t be.
The skewed perception of toughness throughout the military community is just that–skewed. Internalizing stress, anxiety, and depression isn’t tough–asking for help is. And whether it’s because we’re ashamed or feel like no one will understand, these difficult conversations need to become commonplace.
That’s why Callsign 22 was created–to rally a community around the humanness of mental health, to have tough conversations, to develop support systems, and to maintain a connection between our Brothers and Sisters in Arms.
Callsign 22 is a platform addressing the root causes of poor mental health outcomes in veterans. Our goal is to build community and social connectedness through social media challenges and raise money for causes we believe in.
We believe the time for awareness has passed and it is now time to take action.
According to 2021 DoD and VA data, 6,726 veterans and service members died by suicide in 2020. This is equivalent to 18.4 individuals per day, or 15% of suicides by all Americans. Accessible DoD and VA data regarding suicides only go back to 2001, and while there have been some changes throughout the year, these numbers have remained relatively consistent.
We believe 1 military suicide is to many, 18 a day is a catastrophe.
The causes of suicide are complex, but one factor is nearly universal: disconnection. Whether it is feelings of loneliness, physical isolation, a lack of social support, or low social capital, they all reflect disconnection. And though disconnection is strong, each of us has the power to combat it with simple acts of connection: a phone call, a text message, or a few words of support to an old friend.
Our inaugural challenge, "Troop the Line", puts some structure around these simple acts of connection. While it’s hard to know the impact of one act of connection, there is no doubt that hundreds, or even thousands, of people practicing connection will make a tangible impact on disconnection in service members.
So join the cause and Troop the Line. Connect, for life.