Each and every one of us are served by first responders in our communities. These men and women voluntarily enter in to a profession that we all know to be dangerous. Gunfire, ambushes, fires, search and rescue missions, and emergency driving are all dangers of the job that the general public hear about and can understand.
However, lurking in the shadows of these high profile dangers is a lesser known, but just as deadly risk. The psychological traumas experienced by our nation’s police, fire, EMS, and 911 dispatchers can lead some down a destructive and all too often deadly path. The consequence of seeing tragedy on a regular basis can contribute to depression, substance abuse, and other effects of post traumatic stress. Tragically, for some, a false sense of hopelessness results in suicidal behavior. The number of first responders who die by suicide is alarming and heart-breaking. While data is available, it is believed to be incomplete as researchers predict the number to be far more than what is reported.*
More powerful than the problem is the reality that the effects can be prevented and the damage treated. Through awareness, training, and treatment by culturally competent clinicians, first responders affected can move on to live full and satisfying lives. It is the hope of Team Guardian, through this initiative, to make as big of an impact in this as possible.
Team Guardian is crossing the Atlantic to raise funding, awareness, and support for first responder mental wellness and suicide prevention. Funds raised will be used to provide training to agencies and departments serving the Four Corners as well as support treatment when needed. While our focus is currently on the Four Corners, it is our ultimate goal to create a nationwide impact.