PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Joshua Olivera is on a mission.

The Pawtucket native and U.S. Marine Corps veteran will walk 48 miles over 24 days this month to raise awareness of the struggles veterans face when returning to civilian life.

It’s a struggle he knows firsthand.

“I am a veteran who tried to commit suicide at one point in my life,” he said.

Oliveira told 12 News he served in the Marines for four years after graduating high school.

“I realized that I was either going to end up in jail, end up on drugs or just end up homeless,” he said. “I needed to do something, and I always wanted to join the military.”

It wasn’t until he returned home in 2011 that he fell into a deep depression.

“When you’re in [the military], it is by the books,” Oliveira explained. “It’s so strict …  You have higher standards, higher morals, and when you enter a world that doesn’t necessarily agree with that, it messes with you and makes you question a lot of things.”

“Those are some of the things that led up to me hopping in a car, doing 120 mph, closing my eyes and hoping that I’d die,” he continued.

That was the wake-up call Oliveira said he needed. It was when he realized he needed to seek help because he had too much to live for.

“You have to hit such a low point just to rise back up,” he said. “To understand that maybe there is a piece of you that is still alive.”

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 22 veterans die by suicide each day. The statistic equates to one veteran losing their life every 65 minutes.

That’s why Oliveira is walking for Mission 22, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting veterans coming out of deployment, especially those struggling with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

“I want everyone to realize there are resources out there,” he said. “I’m hoping this will be what changes the narrative.”

Despite his struggles, Oliveira told 12 News he doesn’t regret becoming a Marine.

“It made me a better person,” he said. “It was something that broke me out of my shell and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”

Oliveira earns a living as a hair stylist and hopes to one day teach as well.

But for now, he’s taking it one step at a time.

“You have to appreciate everything you have in life,” he said. “The trees and the ground that we walk on, being able to walk, being able to breathe. Those simplicities in life are what should make everything A-OK.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, seek immediate help:

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call, text or chat 988
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call (800) 273-8255
BH Link: Rhode Islanders can call 401-414-LINK (5465)
Kids’ Link RI: Parents can call 1-855-543-5465