Push-up challenge educates New Trier students about mental health, veterans’ issues


Winnetka, Ill. - A 22-day push-up challenge is giving New Trier High School students the opportunity to combine mind and body as they learn about mental health issues.

The challenge, #22KILL, is a global movement with a mission to raise awareness about veteran suicides and post-traumatic stress disorder. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Participants in the challenge acknowledge that jarring statistic by completing 22 push-ups for 22 days and sharing their photos and videos on social media.

New Trier Kinetic Wellness teacher Jennifer Tricoli heard about #22KILL and decided to put her own spin on the challenge for her junior and senior lifeline class. The New Trier course is open for students to create their own exercise programs.

"I thought it was really important to incorporate this mental health lesson into my class because it's something the students should learn about," Tricoli said.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 3, every school day, a student has presented one statistic about mental health to the class followed by 22 push-ups, which they complete and count together.

Another Kinetic Wellness teacher, Kate Goodman, completed the challenge in her classes last spring but is doing it more formally this fall by posting on social media with the hashtag #22KILL to raise awareness.

"My brother is a veteran with PTSD, so I personally connected to this and wanted to integrate it into my lifeline course," Goodman said.

Both Goodman and Tricoli plan to put more Kinetic Wellness classes up to the 22-day test after the completion of the latest challenge on Nov. 3. To learn more, visit www.22kill.com.