October 10th is World Mental Health Day.

 A day to recognize our bodies as a whole, to reduce stigma, to support open real conversation and to support those in need of services.

Members of the public, statistically will not experience one critical event in their life time. First Responders however experience them each shift that they work.  Talking about those events and the lasting effects can difficult with the current stigma associated with Mental Health care.  Foundation 1023 is here to provide safe confidential care by culturally competent professionals.

Our Mission

Foundation 1023 is committed to supporting the emotional and mental wellness of First Responders and their support network who are experiencing illness, loss or stressful life events by providing confidential funding for emotional and mental wellness services, as well as access to peer supported outdoor activities and events designed for personal wellness and connection.

Through public, business and community donations, Foundation 1023 provides positive mental wellness impact for first responders with confidential counseling, peer to peer training and community awareness regarding the need for mental health support in the first responder community.

Help Us Put First Responder Mental Health First.

Foundation 1023 Board Member Becomes a Nationally Certified Public Safety Peer Specialist

Foundation 1023 Board Member, Melody Mesmer, is now a nationally certified Public Safety Peer Specialist providing unparalleled level of peer support to public safety individuals, families, and organizations. Melody Mesmer completed a combination minimum of 60 hours of training in ethics, wellness, recovery, advocacy, mentoring, and peer education along with additional training in self-harm, suicide prevention and intervention, post-traumatic stress injuries and growth, family, relationships, and communication from Building Warriors Peer Specialist Academy and other sources, a minimum of 200 hours of direct client contact, and participated in routine clinical supervision with Building Warriors to be eligible for certification from the Association of Addiction Professionals as a Nationally Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist. This certification includes a wide variety of experience and education to qualify. 

Melody is a Colorado native that has been in the Fire/EMS industry since 1995 working in rural/ farm communities, urban and mountain medicine for both paid and volunteer agencies. Melody is currently an EMS Coordinator for St Anthony Hospitals where she has worked for the last 12 years, where she offers EMS continuing education, quality improvement, initial education at the St Anthony Paramedic Institute, and supervision at special events.

Study: Police Officers and Firefighters Are More Likely to Die by Suicide than in Line of Duty

A white paper commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation revealed that first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. Suicide is a result of mental illness, including depression and PTSD, which stems from constant exposure to death and destruction.

The white paper study, the Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders, examines a number of factors contributing to mental health issues among first responders and what leads to their elevated rate of suicide. One study included in the white paper found that on average, police officers witness 188 ‘critical incidents’ during their careers. This exposure to trauma can lead to several forms of mental illness. For example, PTSD and depression rates among firefighters and police officers have been found to be as much as 5 times higher than the rates within the civilian population, which causes these first responders to commit suicide at a considerably higher rate. Even when suicide does not occur, untreated mental illness can lead to poor physical health and impaired decision-making.

“First responders are heroes who run towards danger every day in order to save the lives of others. They are also human beings, and their work exerts a toll on their mental health,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “It is our obligation to support them in every way possible – to make sure that they feel welcome and able to access life-saving mental health care. This white paper should serve as a critical call to action to all who care about our heroes in red and blue.”

The white paper also goes on to lay out several barriers that prevent first responders from accessing necessary mental health services to help them cope with trauma. Experts describe the shame and stigma surrounding mental health within professions that prioritize bravery and toughness, and the public remains largely unaware of these issues, since the vast majority of first responder suicides are not covered by the mainstream media. Additionally, of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States, approximately 3-5% have suicide prevention training programs.

“We need to end the silence that surrounds the issue of first responder mental health.” Ruderman added. “Also, departments should encourage or require first responders to access mental health services annually. This will enable our heroes to identify issues early, and get the help that they need. It will save lives.”

Read the ‘Ruderman White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide of First Responders’ in full:

In The News

Over 100 volunteers, including survivors of the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas, came together Saturday morning to assemble 1,000 baskets for first responders.

Chad and Jennifer Robertson were two of more than 150 Coloradans who survived the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas.  Chad wanted to do something nice for the first responders who helped him; give them a little something to say thank you. Soon he had raised close to $40,000; enough to provide thank you baskets to 1,000 first responders who helped that night.

vegas shooting baskets 4 Denver Survivors Of Las Vegas Shooting Send Thanks To First Responders

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Melody Mesmer, co-founder of Foundation 1023, an organization that helps provide mental health services to first responders and their families.

“Having the availability to turn good from something bad is always good for our environment and our communities and it also helps spread the message of taking care of each other and being kind to each other,” said Mesmer.  Foundation 1023 is just one of the many organizations who came together to help fill the baskets with meaningful gifts.

 

“There’s a lot of good people out there.  For as horrible as this man was who created this crime and did this to this venue and all these people. … There’s way more good people in the world than bad people,” said Chad.

How Foundation 1023 makes a difference

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