It starts with one simple act of support

It has been said that suicide prevention can start with one simple act of support. To show our support, raise awareness of the daily suicide rate and mental health issues, and give back to those who serve in our surrounding communities and throughout the world, we encourage employees to come together to accept the Defending 22 challenge.

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Home Base

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Why Defending 22?

Twenty-two. A 2012 study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs found that approximately 22 veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen and reservists take their own lives every day. While this number has since fluctuated, even one suicide is one too many. As the number 22 remains symbolic in the veterans’ mental health movement, we developed this challenge to take place over the course of 22 days.

What is the challenge?

For 22 days, employees are challenged to complete a personal health and wellness goal to serve as a daily reminder of those lost to suicide. In honor of each BAE Systems, Inc. employee who registers to accept the challenge, BAE Systems, Inc. will make a donation to an organization whose mission is dedicated to supporting the improvement of mental health and wellness for those who serve. Our charity partners for this year’s campaign are: Headstrong, Home Base, GallantFew, Team Red, White & Blue, and Wounded Warrior Project.  
BAE Systems, Inc. UK and Sweden employees - In support of your participation in Defending 22, a BAE Systems contribution will be made on your behalf to the organizations listed below.
  • Rochester and Middleton ES sites: In honor of your participation, BAE Systems will make a donation to Combat Stress, the United Kingdom’s leading charity for veteran’s mental health. For a century, Combat Stress has helped former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Barrow-in-Furness P&S site: In honor of your participation, BAE Systems will make a donation to Combat Stress, the United Kingdom's leading charity for veteran's mental health. For a century, Combat Stress has helped former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Örnsköldsvik and Karlskoga, Sweden P&S sites: In honor of your participation, BAE Systems will make a donation to Sveriges Veteranförbund Fredsbaskrarna (SVF). The core of Sveriges Veteranförbund Fredsbaskrarna was and still is to maintain the camaraderie that was developed throughout a soldier’s missions. Then, as now, experiences during these missions can scar the soul. PTSD remains an issue, and the organization makes important contributions through organized veteran events – both for cheerful conversations and the more serious ones.
In addition to BAE Systems donating on behalf of employees who register, each employee and their family and friends can also make a difference with a personal donation to one of our Defending 22 charity partners. Donate here:
These donations will allow our charity partners to help even more veterans in need. Additionally, when an employee donates via the company's workplace giving portal, BAE Systems will match each donation dollar for dollar – doubling the gift’s impact!

How do I participate?

  • Register to take the Defending 22 Challenge.
  • Select a healthy habit to incorporate into your life for 22 days.
  • When you register for the challenge, select which organization you’d like BAE Systems to make a donation to on your behalf.
  • Consider making an additional, personal donation to one of the organizations via the Workplace Giving Portal.
  • Share your success story by using #Defending22 on social media. Be sure to tag BAE Systems, Inc. (@baesystemsinc) and make your posts public!

Why am I Defending 22?

Members of our Veterans’ Support Network Employee Resource Group share personal messages highlighting the importance of mental health for our veterans and service members.

Sandra Clark

Annie Lundell

Alywin Thompson

Katie Vogel

Tyece Wilkins


Why health and wellness?

BAE Systems promotes an inclusive culture of overall well-being that inspires and empowers all employees and their families to lead healthy, happy lives. It is our mission that every employee be energized, engaged, and productive in every facet of life.
The goal of the Defending 22 challenge is to unify employees across BAE Systems by engaging company values while raising awareness for veterans’ mental health. Participating in this challenge honors those who have protected us and continue to do so.

How should I select a personal goal?

Having trouble selecting a personal goal? Consider talking to your Cigna health coach, if it’s included in your company benefit plan, or reaching out to your health care professional to identify a goal.
Also, consider reaching out to colleagues to choose similar goals you can work on together and encourage each other along the way. 

What are some examples of personal goals?

Personal goals look a little different this year. For the first time in Defending 22 history, we are encouraging employees to focus on overall well-being instead of choosing one goal and trying to complete it in 22 days. While that mindset and dedication is valuable, we would like to offer a more inclusive option this year, and open the categories to focus on the four pillars of well-being: Mind, Body, Money, and Social.
With more categories come more options for goals! You can pick 22 different options or commit to a category or single option for 22 days. Each activity is split into two sections, beginner and advanced, to accommodate different needs. While the intent of the challenge is to tackle one or several challenges over the 22 days, it’s realistic that some may miss a day or two. That will not disqualify anyone from completing the challenge. Instead, we are focusing on progress toward the goal, not perfection.

Can I share my personal goal and what I am doing throughout the challenge?

Yes! We encourage you to share your activities during the challenge by sharing your Defending 22 story on social media. Simply use the hashtag #Defending22 in your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts, tag @baesystemsinc and make your posts public so that your colleagues can see what you’re doing. BAE Systems, Inc.’s official social media accounts will be using the hashtag and monitoring it as well, and your story may get shared on the company’s social media accounts, corporate website, or intranet, upon your approval.

More Details

Still have questions? You can also contact us at
Click the button below to register for the Defending 22 Challenge!
Join the challenge


WebEx virtual background

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Defending 22 Badge

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Defending 22 - I took the pledge Image

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Challenge Goals

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CignaVet Support Line

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Employee assistance program booklet

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22 Healthy Snacks

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22 Healthy Recipes

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