The 22 Club of Columbia is a group of citizenss who are dedicated to reducing veteran suicide rates by dealing with veteran homelessness, unemployment, and addiction rates.  It is estimated that 1% of the US population enlist in the Armed Forces.  It is also estimated that 8% of those enlisted will be deployed into combat operations.  Today, in Missouri veterans face extremely adverse obstacles that have led to 552,830 homeless veterans, of which 33% have children under their care.  As of September 2021 there are over 118,000 citizens unemployed in Missouri, with 5.7% being veterans. 

Addiction is a far more difficult number to pinpoint.  Substance Use Disorders (“SUDs”), factor in cigarette smoking, drinking, marijuana, opioid use, and other illicit substances.  “Despite numerous attempts by the VA and other agencies over the past two decades to reduce problematic substance use, rates of SUDs in veterans continue to rise. SUDs are associated with substantial negative correlates, including medical problems, other psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety), interpersonal and vocational impairment, and increased rates of suicidal ideation and attempts.  One study of military personnel found that ~30% of completed suicides were preceded by alcohol or drug use, and an estimated 20% of high-risk behavior deaths were attributed to alcohol or drug overdose,” as reported in this article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5587184/

In 2017, there were 47,173 suicides reported in the US, of which 17% (approximately 8,020) were veteran suicides.  This accounts for 22 Veterans and 1 Active Duty Soldier per day.  Making the Veteran community the highest demographic among Americans, comprising men, women, caucasians, African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians who have served the US Armed Forces.  Veterans in this demographic may be LGBTQ or Heterosexual.

As veterans, these issues are deeply concerning to us and we are certain they are of concern to you, as well.  In an effort, to reduce veteran suicide, we feel that by addressing the issues facing our veterans we will be able to reduce veteran suicide rates.  The 22 Club of Columbia has established four primary programs; E-Therapy, X-Therapy, H2H, and the Buddy Pack program as our 4 pillars to combat the suicide rate within our community.

E-Therapy:  We are extremely excited about this program, as it is a process where those needing treatments for PTSD may obtain that treatment regardless of the user’s, status as a veteran.  This program is quite extensive and the development of this program has been extremely labor-intensive.  Visa and Mastercard are each assisting The 22 Club locate a vendor to provide either a Visa and/or Mastercard “gift” card(s) to be part of this program with the following terms, usage limitations as to who may process payments from the card and no individual assignment to the card.  Utilizing state boards to verify qualifications and credentials to ensure that only professionals that are qualified to treat PTSD are our approved vendors. 

X-Therapy: Through our X-Therapy program, we hope to use professionals outside the VA System to use treatments such as marijuana, mushrooms, equestrian, and other methods in hopes of treating PTSD to reduce Veteran suicide. The VA is prohibited from exploring this avenue and we hope to work with the University of Missouri-Columbia, Washington University-St. Louis, and the University of Missouri-KC through their research teams to document each phase of the study to qualify methods as truly therapeutic and not just a placebo.

Homeless-2-Homeowner “H2H”:  The 22 Club believes that by offering legitimate job skills, training, and employment opportunities that are in line with the recovery and treatment plan that the veteran may be receiving. We hope to be able to train veterans and through that training, we will be able to rehabilitate homes in need of restoration. In this way, we look to provide suitable housing to the homeless, aiding veterans and our communities as a whole.

Buddy Pack:  This program is operated through our Facebook group located at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2639190029500243/.  Here veterans can talk about anything on their mind free of judgment, so it is limited to veterans only with very few exceptions.  Here veterans can advertise their business or hobbies, or they can request company for hiking, fishing, hunting, golfing, eating, anything really…just to keep our veterans from being isolated and alone.

We believe that these programs will reduce veteran homelessness, veteran unemployment, and veteran addiction rates, thereby reducing veteran suicide rates and improving the general community as a whole.

What Can You Do?