22KILL is a global movement bridging the gap between veterans and civilians to build a community of support.
22KILL works to raise awareness to the suicide epidemic that is plaguing our country, and educate the public on mental health issues such as PTS. 22KILL also serves as a resource for veterans, and continues to build on its network of like-minded organizations to be able to connect veterans with programs and services in their local area. Funds raised through merchandise sales and donations are used to support partnered organizations who offer programs focusing on veteran empowerment, mental health treatment, and therapy/counseling for veterans and their families.
History of 22KILL:
The 22KILL movement started in 2013 – under Honor Courage Commitment, Inc., another nonprofit organization focusing on veteran entrepreneurship – after the VA released the staggering statistic that an average of 22 veterans are killed by suicide every day. 22KILL has committed to researching and understanding the genesis of this epidemic, and educating the general public on the issue. 22KILL is a platform to raise awareness not just towards veteran suicide, but also to the issues that can lead them to suicide. These mental health issues can stem from Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, or the struggles and stresses of transitioning from military to civilian life.
The solution is veteran empowerment. One of the biggest challenges veterans face is finding a sense of purpose after service. 22KILL directly supports veteran empowerment programs that help veterans maximize their talents and understand their value outside of the military. 22KILL also continually provides support for other veteran organizations, treatment centers, and community events and projects.
In July 0f 2015, 22KILL officially became its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Although legally separated from HCC, both organizations continue to work closely together to continue the mission of awareness and empowerment.
Why is it called 22KILL?
In 2012, the VA released a Suicide Data Report that an average of 22 veterans are “KILLED By Suicide” (KBS) everyday. The name “22KILL” is meant to grab people’s attention, because our primary mission begins with raising awareness to the issue. Suicide prevention is a very difficult task to undertake, especially when the general public is unaware of the issue in the first place. In order to prevent or “fix” a problem, one must first learn and understand the problem itself and its causes. By educating ourselves, we’ll be able to identify the triggers that can lead someone to thoughts of suicide, and confront those issues as they come, rather than letting them accumulate into something much worse.
Who are Veteran Advocates?
Veteran Advocates – aka “Battle Buddies” – wear the 22KILL Honor Ring™ – a black band worn on the right index finger, symbolizing the “trigger finger”. By choosing to become part of Team 22KILL and wearing this ring, you are committed to:
- Research and learn about your local veteran service organizations and what their missions and needs are
- Focus on veteran strengths and challenge negative attitudes around veteran “issues”
- Advocate for veterans in a positive light in any platform you have
- Raise awareness to the issues of veteran suicide, and follow up with a positive solution through education and empowerment through programs offered from local nonprofits and veteran service organizations
- Believing that veterans are America’s greatest asset and learning to love them and showing them that you care
What is the meaning of the rings?
The Honor Ring™ is a black band worn on the index finger as a “silent salute” to all veterans, past and present. This ring is a symbol of respect and simply says that you support those who have served our country. This support can extend even beyond the military to include police, fire departments, and EMS. As a part of the 22KILL community, the ring is also a reminder to us as veterans and veteran supporters that we are never alone; that we are all family.
Do I have to be a veteran to wear an Honor Ring™?
No you do not. Any person who supports those who serve(d) (active warriors, veterans, friends and family members) can show their appreciation by wearing an Honor Ring™ on the right index finger.
Why is the ring worn on the index finger?
That is exactly why. Because it raises questions, which in turn raises awareness. It stands out as something that is easily identifiable, as opposed to just another ring on the ring finger. You can see a black ring on the index finger and know right away what it represents.
Aside from that, there is also a deeper, less talked about meaning behind the ring, and why we reference the “trigger finger”. In the U.S., gun shots are the most common method of suicide. 22KILL wants to “black out” the trigger finger, as a reminder and a way of saying that this needs to stop. If, God forbid, a person with the ring ever reaches that point of considering suicide, then maybe feeling that ring on their finger will remind them that they are never alone, and that help is always available.
How can I help?
Become a Veterans’ Advocate and show your support with an Honor Ring. 100% of donations go directly towards programs and services for veterans and their families that focus on empowerment and mental health, provided through various partner organizations.