Mission22 combats rising veteran suicide rate
Rapid City, SD — War does not always end when service members return home from deployments. Many suffer from depression and PTSD, and over 20 commit suicide a day. Mission22 in Rapid City is working to raise awareness and combat the ever-rising veteran suicide rate. You may have seen them on Omaha Street this weekend with flags and signs encouraging veterans not to give up.
Chris Cooper is Mission22’s South Dakota State Ambassador Leader. He is also an Air Force veteran, and knows personally how important is it to raise awareness about the military suicide rates and provide resources for services members in pain. Although he has suffered from PTSD and attempted suicide, he believes members have more support than in times past.
“Everything’s gotten better in recent years, it used to be if you had PTSD and you were thinking about suicide, you kept it to yourself. You didn’t want people knowing that you were struggling and hurting and, you’re in the military. You’re supposed to be this tough person, and not let things get to you. And now, people are starting to be there for people who are struggling and help them and it’s finally being recognized as an actual issue, and people are knowing that they don’t have to worry about hiding it anymore, they can actually go out and get help if they need it.”
Mission22 also created the Warrior Integration Now program to eliminate and reduce the symptoms of trauma as well as promote physical and mental well being. The organization works heavily with members suffering from PTSD, but suicide among services members can also be attributed to the working conditions, and in veterans, the difficult transition from military to civilian life.
Most participants are veterans, but active duty members are welcome and encouraged to join the fight to regain control of their lives. Mission22 is not a crisis organization, but is working hard to provide assistance to service members in need.