NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– The latest social media craze involves filming yourself doing 22 push ups every day, for 22 days. An army veteran in Michigan started it to get people talking about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
To accept the challenge, you do 22 push up each day for 22 days to raise awareness and funds to show military men and women they are not alone. Every day, an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide because they can’t cope with what they’ve been through, CBS2’s Emily Smith reported.
Sergeant First Class Chris Castro suffers from PTSD and is currently being treated at Northwell Rosen Family Wellness Center in New Hyde Park. He’s in talk therapy and taking a mood enhancer to help alleviate painful memories of being a medic in Iraq.
“I was the first one to tell you don’t take pills, just let your body suck it up and drive on… but now I am the one who is telling you take them because they are there to help you,” Castro said.
Former Navy SEAL Kevin Lacz portrayed himself in the film “American Sniper” alongside Bradley Cooper, who played Chris Kyle. Kyle became a mentor to Lacz in Iraq. Kyle is known as the man with the most sniper kills in U.S. history. He was murdered by a former marine suffering from PTSD after he was honorably discharged.
“It’s an issue that’s alarming, stunning, striking… and I think we need to pay more attention to it,” Lacz said.
He worked up a sweat for the PTSD awareness challenge, but he said there’a a stereotype that everyone who serves has the disorder.
“They estimate 20 to 25 percent do. There’s another 75 percent who don’t and people are quick to put the label if you served overseas you have PTSD. With the movie I got a lot of ‘I am sorry you had to go through that,'” he said.
But Lacz said the issue and experiences that cause it should be talked about by everyone including war veterans themselves.
“There’s always that perception don’t ask what someone did overseas, but I think people want to know,” he said. “Your experiences are powerful. You led squads while your buddies were playing video games in college.”
He encourages people to get involved in any way then can, including the Push Up Challenge, which shows war veterans they are not alone and have an army of their own to help empower them once again.