ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- An initiative named Vet22 was launched in metro Atlanta Friday, the goal is to raise funds and awareness about the struggles veterans face each day including suicide epidemic.

“By the time you wake up tomorrow 22 veterans would have committed suicide that’s more than 8000 death a year,” said Shy Armstrong, Veteran Liaison with U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson’s Office.

While the statistic may sound shocking it is real. According to the VA, suicide among vets continues to increase. Veteran Manswell Peterson says he almost became part of the stats.

“I got tired of begging. I signed away life for people I’m hurting every day” added Peterson.

For more than three year Peterson says he has not been able to smile, and it began eating him up on the inside.

“It’s been 1,100 days for me to get dental implants ... 1,100 days and counting. I’ve tried the dentures and everything else, I hurt my jaw, injured it and lost my teeth and we had to use dentures but it’s gotten to a point now the dentures won’t fit.”

Despite being approve for the implants Peterson says every year his surgery is pushed back. He said he was recently told he will have to wait till December 2020 before he can get the work done.

In the meantime, he says he struggles with not being able to do basic things like eat what he wants or even smile. But Peterson says efforts like Vet22, a community partnership to raise funds and awareness to assist veterans in their daily lives saved his life.

“1100 days no pictures, no smile, everything you’re doing you’re covering up your mouth because you don’t want people to see how messed up it is. It’s a quality of life issue. This is why things life Vet22 is important because the red tape. This is what we’re dealing with, it’s horrible” added Peterson.

To find out more about the Vet22 campaign, click here.

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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