For the past #22 days I have participated in the #22pushupchallenge . I have done push ups in historic locations, in the hottest places and coldest, on even on trains and planes. There have been some great examples of great ways to raise awareness (see below for some of my own videos alongside some of the ones which I have most liked).
A great initiative to raise awareness of the mental health issues facing veterans. Whilst the social media phenomenon is based on the stark fact that on average 22 US veterans commit suicide every day- this is repeated the world over amongst veteran communities. Only last weekend we watched “The Railway Man” tell the story of Eric Lomax and the mental horrors he harboured years after he returned from living hell of the Burma Japanese Prisoner of War Camps. The issue is not a new one. Recently, the issue of mental health has skirted around the policy agenda but more work needs to be done, especially in the broader but much hidden area of men’s mental health challenges.
During the challenge, it has been great to see others join in and the whole thing go viral over the past week or two. However, what happens when the campaign comes to an end?
To that end a couple of things spring to mind:-
• Those who serve us see far more than 22 days service.
• Many who served did not have the option to join in (whilst there is no conscript army now, the armed forces are still the place of last resort for many)
• The #22pushupchallenge has sparked many into regular physical activity- does this just come to an end (especially when the worldwide epitome of physical endurance, the Olympics, is on our screens)
• The #22pushupchallenge has raised awareness however what is really needed to help is resource to give professional support
Some statistics for Scotland might be enlightening before I share with you a proposal:-
• 44% of Scotland’s adult ex-service community say they have experienced a welfare difficulty in the past 12 months (1)
• 44,000 veterans suffer from mobility issues. (2)
• 400,000- the estimated size of Scotland’s veteran’s community. (3)
Having looked at the above I have decided to continue my challenge for another wee while longer. If anything, I hope that it will raise even more money for a charity right here in Scotland who do so much to help veterans with mental health issues, mobility issues, employment issues and so much more.
Inspired by videos such as the Royal Marine amputee still pushing 22 out, I am taking the challenge to a new level. Will you join me in the #44more ?
It will be interesting to see how many go the extra mile. The drop out rate in the 22 challenge is quite phenomenal. Can you imagine if this happened during a war defending democracy and liberty? Furthermore, if only the mental health issues only lasted for 22 days and you could just “drop out.”
All you have to do is continue with 44 pieces of physical activity over 44 days. This can be 44 press ups, 44 sit ups, a combination (22 press ups and 22 sits up) or whatever else you choose. It is up to you. But please do set up a link to raise some much needed funds alongside your extension to this awareness raising campaign.
For my own charity link click here:-
Some videos that have helped grow the challenge:-
Good luck …. and join the #44more !
(1) Poppy Scotland report 2015 http://poppyscotland.org.uk/annualreview2014/#.V6eYiSFTHIV
(2) Poppy Scotland video 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brDmYnZDUMc
(3) Scottish Government Report : http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2009/11/05103740/1