by Freddy Groves
Buddy Check 22
Buddy Check 22 is an American Legion program that reaches out to possibly at-risk veterans. The "22" in the name is most significant: it is the average number of veteran suicides per day. On the 22nd of each month, veterans in Buddy Check will call (or text or email or drop by) another veteran to let them know they're not alone. Whether it's PTSD, suicidal thoughts, difficulty coping or anything else, BC22 veterans will be there to help.
Do you have a Buddy Check program in your area? Do you participate in either the national or a local group? Some local groups go beyond the phone calls and host monthly meetings and events. By providing a venue for making social connections and getting suicide prevention information, veterans come to know they're not alone. To look for groups in your area, search for: "Buddy Check 22" veterans and your state.
To go to the source, the American Legion, check: www.legion.org/buddycheck. If you especially want to start a BC22 in your area, this is the place to begin.
Not affiliated with the American Legion is a nightly Zoom Buddy Check. Get there through the Warrior NOW Nightly Buddy Check at warriornow.org/buddy-check. Warrior NOW is a nonprofit committed to veteran mental health and suicide prevention.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call Veteran's Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 and press 1.
Recently the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill to designate one week per year as "Buddy Check Week." During that week, veteran mentors will learn how to do buddy checks and to access the support their buddies need. The bill would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to pitch in with education and materials for mentors to help their buddies. The House of Representatives, however, went home for the year without addressing the Buddy Check bill. They referred it to a subcommittee, where it now sits.