If you're a veteran or service member in crisis, please call 844-907-1338I just found out about this challenge and I'm trying to figure out how to work this on my end because I'm TDY to a remote location working with, and for, a group of soldiers as that's what my day job entails. I have a couple gamers with me, but they're of the video game type and our internet kind of sucks here....well sucks as far as online gaming goes.
I'm going to talk with "my guys" and see if we can work some kind of 30 hour game marathon here taking shifts (if needed) and maybe see if we can get a fundraiser going....probably for next weekend.
Some of you might know that I was enlisted for eight years in the Air Force where I actually lived and worked with the Army as a TACP. I became and ETAC (they're called JTACs now) and it isn't an easy job or life. There is a reason I got out at eight years instead of doing my 20 like I planned. I will acknowledge that I'm broken, mentally and physically, in a few ways. Not a pity-party request, just stating a fact that is shared by many, many Veterans. It takes a toll.
I don't think any of us don't have a buddy (or three) that hasn't taken their own life, or had a go at it themselves. IIRC the statistic is not 22 a day, but closer to 17 and our rates are 57% higher than the civilian populace. This problem is really only acknowledged in someone's passing, but we rarely (if ever) talk about the larger problem. At best we hear, "I wish <brother> would have reached out to me." It isn't something that we talk about and if a Veteran needs this kind of help, we're not apt to burden each other with our problems even though we'd do anything to help someone else. It's a huge disparity that really doesn't get acknowledged. Realistically if a Veteran needs help they need someone else to reach out to.
You'd think that the Veteran's Administration would be on top of the mental health game, but at least in my experience they kind of suck. Note: I had a couple paragraph's of rant here that I deleted.
So USAA (coincidentally my bank and insurer) has kind of stepped up and initiated this Stop Soldier Suicide campaign, and they have a number of challenges this month and next:
- 60 Mile Move Challenge (February 2023)
- 30 Hours of Gaming Challenge (February 2023)
- 30 Mile Dog Walk Challenge (March 2023)
- 2,000 Squats Challenge (March 2023)
Now of these challenges, the Gaming Challenge is right up our alley. I really wish I had more advance notice on this so I could've planned something better, but there is still some time.
The last time I saw a Facebook Challenge about Veteran Suicides it was that lame 22 push-up thing. Yes I called it lame because 99% of what I saw was people doing push-ups on Instagram with no real ambition for results. They weren't raising money or promoting anything other than themselves.
This go-around USAA barely has their name on it and it's much more than just a generic "awareness" campaign. There's a no-shit 501(c)3 setup that has been verified by the DoD as "candid", which is HUGE if you've ever taken part in a Combined Federal Campaign before. This group is actually trying to do something and I think we, as a community, can get involved. There are a couple of ways....
1st, since this is also an "awareness campaign", just share the info. Everyone needs to know these guys exist and if a Veteran is in crisis they can call 844-907-1338 for help...and it isn't the VA. For the record though the VA's Crisis line is 988 in the US. Regiment is giving away a gaming PC here and I'm surprised that none of the entry links seem to encourage word-of-mouth promotions, but there is a lot to be learned about the organization.
2nd, and this is hand-in-hand with the 1st thing, go ahead and follow Stop Soldier Suicide on Facebook. The more attention they get there, the easier it will be to get their message out and about. I only learned about these guys today and I'm certain there are those that need to have this name & number.
3rd is just straight-up support. I'll do what I can to get something together in the next 24 hours and will post the details here, but that doesn't stop any of you from getting a group together to do something. Hold a 30 hour gaming session (or group of sessions) and take up a collection....a six person group doing a quarter per person per hour would be $45 (just saying....). Sure donations would be great, but really even just doing the 1st and 2nd thing would be big.