Hundreds of Ukrainian war veterans, servicemen, and police officers have taken part in a global social media campaign. The “22 PushUp Challenge” aims to shed light on the staggering number of veterans who commit suicide every day. This viral campaign is the latest attempt to highlight mental health issues veterans often face.
Neither the bitterly cold weather nor startled onlookers could stop 500 Ukrainian police officers who performed the 22 pushups in the streets of Dnipro, explaining that they wanted to remind civilians about the combatants in Donbas and thank Ukrainian war veterans for their service to the country.
The “22 PushUp Challenge” has become an international phenomenon that honors military service personnel and raising awareness of suicide among veterans of the armed forces and has spread in Ukraine, with army servicemen, law enforcers, NGOs, and politicians filming how they perform the challenge and sharing the videos in social media under the hashtag #22PushupChallenge.
— Kyiv Post (@KyivPost) January 26, 2017
Several special operations forces and the Royal Canadian Police also got involved, and some generals from Ukraine’s National Guard also effortlessly completed the challenge. Which obviously meant members of Ukraine’s rapid reaction Airborne Brigade had to step up to the plate.
Mykhailo Zabrodskyi, Hero of Ukraine, explained that the challenge isn’t only about physical stamina:
“The 22PushUp challenge gives us the opportunity to draw attention to the problems war veterans face. We try our best to support these people. But what is most important, to make them feel needed.”
The global movement first began in 2013 to educate the public on mental health issues of veterans, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Back then, research by the Department of Veterans Affairs released a staggering statistic – that an average of 22 veterans commit suicide every day. Now the whole world performs push-ups to ensure veterans that they are not forgotten.