The Rock Joins Other Celebrities To Combat Veteran Suicide In The 22 Push-Up Challenge

A closer look at the latest social media challenge.


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson added his name — along with his pecs and triceps — to the growing list of celebrities who are participating in the #22PushupChallenge.

The Rock took to his Instagram account — where he has chronicled some of the funnier and more heartfelt moments in life, including the problem of veteran suicide and his love for his fans — to bang out 22 push-ups before calling out comedian Kevin Hart, who is slated to star alongside the former wrestler in the upcoming "re-imagining" of the 1995 Robin Williams hit, Jumanji.

The #22PushUpChallenge aims to raise awareness of the problem of veteran suicide in the United States.

The issue that it seeks to tackle is more complicated than it seems. 

The oft-cited figure of 22 veteran suicides a day comes from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair's 2012 Suicide Data Report. The report, which analyzed death certificate data from 21 states from 1999-2011, stated that "an estimated 22 Veterans will have died from suicide each day in the calendar year 2010." Due to the statistical issues associated with sampling, however, the report also "recommended that the estimated number of veterans be interpreted with caution due to the use of data from a sample of states and existing evidence of uncertainty in veteran identifiers on U.S. death certificates."

According to veteran website Task & Purpose, that figure has been disputed and criticized by a number of vets, including entrepreneur Derek Weida, whose leg was amputated in 2007 after being shot in combat during the Iraq War. "It's just not helpful," Weida said in a video posted to Facebook in April with the caption "Stop with all the 22. Change the message. Go be great. Show the world."  

That said, the number of veteran suicides is still quite high. In early 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that veteran suicides are "roughly 50 percent higher than the rate among other civilians with similar demographic characteristics," although noting that the problem was complicated by the fact that the "rate was slightly higher among veterans who never (emphasis: ours) deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, suggesting that the causes extend beyond the trauma of war."

Regardless of whether the problem of suicide can ever be solved, the real strength of the #22PushupChallenge is that its spirit is in wanting to show veterans that they're cared about and not forgotten, whether by civilian gym rats or Hollywood actors.

Here are some of the messages sent by Hollywood to America's Vets.

Kevin Hart

Chris Pratt and Anna Faris

Scott Eastwood

Chris Evans


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.