Predicting what will catch on--no matter how worthy the cause--is tough. Why something goes viral is only apparent in hindsight.

For every yellow Livestrong bracelet campaign or Ice Bucket Challenge there are thousands of...well, who knows what they were because they didn't catch on.

One that has caught on is the 22 Pushup Challenge, a campaign intended to focus attention on the exceptionally high rate of suicide among military veterans. An estimated 7,400 veterans commit suicide each year--which works out to 22 veterans who commit suicide every day.

Like the Ice Bucket Challenge, the premise is simple: do 22 pushups and then challenge someone else to do the same.

The people behind the pushup challenge, 22Kill, say their goals are to:

  • Raise awareness of veteran suicide and mental health issues like posttraumatic stress (PTS), traumatic brain injury, and the difficulty and stress some veterans experience as they transition from military to civilian life.
  • Recruit Veteran Advocates (called "Battle Buddies").
  • Support partnered organizations that focus on veteran empowerment, mental health treatment, and other services for veterans and their families.

So how can you help? Easy. Do 22 pushups, either in one shot or as many at a time as you can until you reach 22.

Then challenge someone else to do the same. You can do that through social media or less publicly. And then consider volunteering or donating to any of a number of great veteran's assistance organizations.

How you choose to spread the word isn't important. What is important is that we find ways to help veterans overcome any of the mental, physical, or emotional issues they face so they can lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

That's something we all hope for--so it's definitely not too much to ask for the men and women who served our country.

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Published on: Aug 17, 2016
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