Mission 22, an organization dedicted to raising awareness about veteran suicide, tapped war photographer David Guttenfelder for this haunting Memorial Day campaign, which features a series of somber images showing the homes of soldiers who took their own lives after returning from their assignments.
The organization, a collaboration between veteran non-profit Elder Heart and agency CP&B, derives its name from a startling statistic: in the U.S., an average of 22 soldiers commit suicide every day
Mr. Guttenfelder spent 20 years covering wars in Sierra Leone, Congo, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, but not until he hooked up with Mission 22 did he learn that once soldiers returned home to the U.S., they faced perhaps an even bigger, personal battle -- one that, in fact, was the leading cause of their deaths -- more so than going to war itself.
"These are young guys, and they became somebody out there. …They were boys and they came home men. And then they get back, and now what?" Mr. Guttenfelder said in a contemplative video for the campaign, which documents Mr. Guttenfelder's past experiences on the battlefield as well as his realization about soldiers' struggles at home. Set to a haunting piano track, it shows him capturing the soldiers' homes on camera, images now being used in a print campaign in Fortune, Money and Esquire and on billboards in the cities of the soldiers' homes.
The campaign aims to draw awareness to the statistic of veteran suicide and reduce the number through education. Mission 22 also organized a memorial event, and provides resources for vets, families and communities on its site.
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