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Rescue the Rescuer
65 minutes | May 16, 2019
Bleeding on Social Media
Join Myself and Kristin Walker, CEO of Mental Health News Radio, as we discuss a very personal and damaging problem that our world is enmeshed in. We are talking about bleeding all over social media with our need to be heard. We discuss the devastating effects of it with very real and personal stories. We then discuss ways to combat this problem You don't want to miss this!!
47 minutes | May 3, 2019
Empty Your Glass
Join Idao Firefighter/Medic Paul Watkins as we talk about self care and some interesting ideas he has on the subject. A truly great conversation that you won't want to miss!! My name is Paul Watkins I was born in 1976 in Ontario,Oregon. I currently live in Meridian,Idaho a suburb of Boise Idaho. I grew up in New Plymouth Idaho, a small farming community of about 1500 residents.Thats where I started my love for being a first responder. It was a small all volunteer fire dept. I tried starting when I was 17 but for insurance purposes I could not start until I was 18. which is july 6 so needless to say I had to hear the sirens leaving the station for about 2 months after graduating from high school. Getting my pager was the high light of the summer, then the first set of tones go out and I was hooked. So from the day I turned 18 to now I have been a first responder. I was entirely fire until I became an emt in 2007. So I moved to Donnelly,Idaho a small town in valley conty Idaho its about 95 miles from Meridian. I was on the combination department there and and thats where I started to push myself to becoming a paramedic. The journey to where I am today was not at all easy, am also a journeyman electrician as I am still to this day. My family was and still are alcoholics and that was a way of life, I never partook in the alcoholic lifestyle until I got divorced in 2001. Then it slowly starts to creep in. All my life growing up with divorced parents and living with my father who was an alcoholic I convinced myself I was never going to be an alcoholic. I started my first resonder career in 1994 and thats the era suck it up butter cup, if the fire is to hot get out, thats the stigma we lived by and most places today are still the same way. That is the most unhealthy way to look at thing. But that was not always my point of view I was that mindset I lived by it Not a good idea. Im advancing through my career, so I decided it was a good idea to try and run an electrical company and work as a fire medic at the same time, I got married a second time and was telling myself i was good I am fine, well that was not true at all. Those words are not allowed at my current station I will explain that on the show. Stress of the business sets in and the stress and let downs of being a first responder start to set in. I start to drink a beer or so a day knowing I will never be an addict or an alcoholic. a year and a half goes by and I am in the valley county courthouse getting my second divorce, drinking starts to get heavier,but yet again I can handle it for I am fine Im good again lies we tell ourselves. so years go by no big changes except drinking has become my way of letting go,but yet Im not an alcoholic so I tell myself, and no way am I going to ask for help thats a weakness. (another lie). So I decide to just work as an electrican part time and decided to work at two fire depts. only having about 12 hours off between the two terrible idea.I hung on for 6 months until I broke one day and did not make it to shift, and was suspended for not going throught the proper channels. so I quit the one dept. on the spot and had put 9 years ofmy life into that dept. thinking thats where I would retire, well that was not going to happen. The dept. I work at now and the one I quit is about 12 miles apart. Well things got worse because the reason I missed shift is because there was a death on every shift and other traumatic calls and they just stacked up and not knowing it then but my glass was full and over flowing and the one person you think would have your back did not Donnelly fire chief, he would always say his fire fighters health was his main concern, well he forgot the mental heath aspect. Drinking got worse and I could trust no one. Well then I get married the third time this time there is 3 children involved all girls and two living at home 13 and 15, still married today. will be 4 years may 29th. I got to the point where I was drinking very heavily after shift after work pretty much anytime i was at home. I would go to the store and and swing by the bar for a beer or two or so, But yet I can control it, I was in control well I thought. The mental aspect of life, marriage, electrical work,and paramedicine was beginning to get heavy. I had been pushing mental health for a couple years at this time but looking back I know why God did not heal me at this time was because I needed to learn. Well one day two years ago may 23 I was at my local water hole and my wife stopped by and had a drink with me but I had been there a couple hours prior so I was in about 4 drinks beer and 1 Shot of whiskey. So we decided to leave she was in front of me and She took off and I pulled out behind her and looked in my mirror and sawthe red and blue lights behind me. So I pulled over at my local gas station I frequent every day,and started the road side olympics and of course I failed,only for the moment not knowing this was actually goiong to be a trimph. So I refused to blow and they never drew blood so we never knew my blood alcohol content. Bt I was not blitzed even my wife siad she had seen me alot worse and drive not cool. well I was arrested of course and was released at midnight bailed out and had to be on shift at 8 am I live an hour and 40 minutes from the station so I got about 3 hours of sleep hung over and very tired ashamed all emotions. well about 1 oclock my ems boss comes and wakes me up and says do you have something to tell us. Talk about absolute utter ashamed and felt like a failure, I could have given up but I was going to beat this. well I lost my license, did not lose my job but did lose my job as an electrician, no loss actually. No jail time just community service and all the fines involved. But I did thank the arresting officer and told him I needed this because I was an alcoholic, my wife called me an addict once and I got so enraged I wa going to divorce her. Well I have not touched alcohol for two years and have no desire. What I did learn through all this is there was never anybody there for me I felt alone empty.,broken. Well now my mission is to get the word out there that there is help and hope I am trying to shift the norm to get help ask that its not a weakness. So at the station I have started the mental well being movement to train people to ask for help non judgemental we are there for each other we have to build that mindset up. So i am working on my chaplaincy for responders and I started the how is your glass today. I can go over that on the show if you woukd like. My goal is to see our people retire happy healthy. There is millions of dollars every year spent on cancer and ppe and all the drugs, not one fire or ems conference around here has classes on mental well being and I am going to try and change that any way I can.
31 minutes | Apr 23, 2019
The Power in Stepping Back
Working in the Mental Health Advocacy world certainly comes with its challenges. I had to take a month hiatus for my own mental health and we will have a very raw and transparent discussion about it. I am so glad to have been joined by Kristin Walker, CEO of The Mental Health News Radio Network join me for my return to the microphone discussion. You won't want to miss ths!!
44 minutes | Mar 27, 2019
Bill Kinkle- From Rescuer to Rescued
Join former paramedic and RN Bill Kinkle and I as we discuss his career and the "not so expected" journey that his life took. We talk about unaddressed mental health issues, substance abuse, stigma an mouch more!!!William C. Kinkle III, BS, RN, EMT-P is a paramedic and registered nurse who has worked in the pre-hospital, emergency/trauma and critical care arena. He has published several peer reviewed research papers and lectured internationally. Bill's current focus is combatting the opioid overdose epidemic through storytelling, educating the public, and advocating for harm reduction measures. His primary interest is speaking to health care providers on addiction in an effort to break the associated stigma by explaining the brain changes behind addiction as well as offer hope for providers who also suffer. He is married and a father to three toddler age children.He can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org
43 minutes | Mar 6, 2019
Food and Mental Health with Danny Mills
Join Health Coach and Flight Paramedic Danny Mills and I as we discuss how what we eat truly affects how we feel and think. My own first hand , tried experience since the new year began has proven these thoughts to be true. The bets part is what we can do about them to gain an edge. Daniel M. Mills is a seasoned 16-year veteran in fire and EMS in Alabama. He is married to his best friend and a father of 2, Brynleigh and Aaron. Daniel was a professional firefighter for over 12 years before leaving the fire service to fly full time as a flight paramedic. He has been a critical care flight paramedic for over 6 years now, as well as a trauma/neuro researcher. He is a veteran of the US Navy where he served as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman with the United States Marine Corp for 8 years. Daniel has overseas time to the Middle East, Africa and Spain. He has been an educator now for over 10 years. He currently flies full time and runs the 911 Buddy Check Project. Daniel is also a recovering addict from a 15 plus year addiction problem.
55 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Sean Fogler- Addicted Doctor
Join my former anesthesiologist Sean Fogler and I as we discuss 9/11, PTSD, Medical School, Cocaine, and Felonies. All part of his journey.Sean Fogler is a physician in long-term recovery, mental health andaddiction advocate, peer recovery mentor and healthcare entrepreneur.Sean was at the World Trade Centers during the September 11 th attacksand developed PTSD. He used addictive substances and behaviors tomanage his disease, ultimately leading to his conviction of a drug offense— and loss of his medical license. Now in long term recovery, Seanadvocates for and mentors those that struggle. He uses his experience toeducate, inform and reduce the shame and stigma that keep addiction alive— especially within the medical community. Sean writes regularly about hisexperience to give hope and promote healing in others and himself. Hecurrently advises a number of healthcare technology companies, one ofwhich is Reachout – My Support Network, an application that providessupport to those struggling with mental health challenges and otherdiseases. Sean is active within the Philadelphia recovery and physicianrecovery communities. He has recently begun working with thePennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition and Lawyers Concerned ForLawyers. He is currently working on a book centered on his experience andthe science of addiction.
49 minutes | Jan 31, 2019
PTSD Bunker Gear for the Brain
Join Firefighter/Podcaster Carl Waggett and I discuss PTSD Bunker Gear for the Brain and his extremely unique take on Mental Health Stigma. One of the most eye opening episodes we have had yet!!My Name is Carl Waggett I’m 43, and I’ve been a full-time firefighter for the past 15 years as well as an Acting Captain for 4 of them. Separated with two children, the 3 of us connected to a 911 fire dispatcher and her two kids. After a close co-worker of mine had ended his life, I removed myself from the front line trucks only to diagnosed with PTSD a short time after. I am learning there are many sides to this brilliant disorder. I simply would like to share my experiences in hopes that others understand that PTSD is more of a winnable battle then you think. I do this buy releasing 3 podcasts a week as well as doing a FB LIVE 3 times a weekPlaces you can hear my message:FaceBook:https://www.facebook.com/carl.waggettYouTube:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1CaHPbBb_bMjhSWI0SXTtATwitter:https://twitter.com/PTSDBunkerGear?lang=enYou can also find us on I tunes under PTSD Bunker Gear For Your Brain
45 minutes | Jan 16, 2019
Ryan Gallik- Silent Mayday
Join retired FF/Paramedic and now author and consultant Ryan Gallik as we discuss resiliency, mental health, and his new book Silent Mayday.Ryan Gallik is an award-winning international speaker and trainer who works with emergency services organizations to build high-performing occupational safety, health and wellness programs.As a firefighter, EMT, paramedic, and EMS instructor who has served Central Florida for more than 17 years, Ryan Gallik understands what it takes to create effective safety programs. He has the hands-on experience combined with years of study that allow him to take the best theories and show emergency service providers, managers, and profess-ional safety practitioners how they can realistically incorporate new safety standards.In 2016 Ryan cofounded the Florida Firefighter Safety and Health Collaborative to provide education & training so we can minimize the risks of exposure & death to our Firefighters. This program is now crossing many States and impacting thousands of Firefighters, Fire Departments and the Fire Service as a whole. Through his role as President of Ryan Gallik & Associates, Ryan has provided consulting and training for emergency services personnel and their vendors.Ryan has been recognized as State of Florida Fire Service Instructor of the Year (2017) and State of Florida Firefighter of the Year (2016), and has had the honor of serving as a family escort during National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend (2014, 2015).You can learn more about Ryan and Ryan Gallik & Associates by visiting www.ryangallik.com.
43 minutes | Jan 8, 2019
Stigma, Narcan Fatigue, and More
Join former NJ FF/EMT George Evans and I as we talk about his story and a topic very near and dear to my heart. Something needs to change.Born in Trenton, NJ; raised by two public servants. Growing up I had ambitions of following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather by becoming a Fire Chief one day. Today I am an ex Firefighter/ EMT who is a grateful recovering addict. My current ambitions are to bring awareness to addiction, PTSD and show others that they to can survive and move forward in their lives just by using their voice.
42 minutes | Dec 27, 2018
Dan Sundahl First Responder Art
Join the amazingly talented artist and firefighter/meidc Dan Sundahl and I as we discuss the world renowned artwork he creates for first responders. He talks about what got him started doing this work and how it has truly become viral around the world, cathced the spirit behind a first responder, and the healing that it can do for people. Daniel Sundahl (DanSun) is a published artist and writer and has two art books produced of his works. Articles of his work have been featured in Canadian Paramedicine, Journal of Emergency Medicine (JEMS), Fire Rescue Magazine, EMS One, EMS World Magazine and The Canadian Journal of Emergency Nursing. His art is recognized worldwide and he travels internationally speaking on his art and personal experiences with occupational stress injuries. He’s an advanced care paramedic, firefighter, pre hospital educator, professional public speaker, photographer and photo editor. Daniel was born in 1967 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Taking up a global residency as an English language teacher in Egypt, Mexico, Indonesia and Japan, he is now a firefighter and advanced care paramedic for the City of Leduc. His love of photography began on his travels, and as his technique developed, he started to produce a blend of photography and graphic art, which he calls Photo Art. The majority of Daniel’s work involves emergency services photography. It involves an emotional connection to the artist as most of his pieces are based on actual emergency calls he has attended as a paramedic and firefighter. He’s passionate about reducing the stigma of PTSD for first responders and he uses his art to raise awareness of occupational stress injuries worldwide. Daniel enjoys combining the technical and artistic elements of his work. Each piece can take several days or weeks of processing until he feels it’s ready. He continues to travel often and gains inspiration for his art from his experiences. dansunphotos.com
48 minutes | Dec 18, 2018
Jon Sanders- The Fire Within
Join fellow podcaster Jon Sanders and I as we discuss making a difference beyond "the job." on Sanders is a firefighter/EMT with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He serves as a member of SFFR’s Peer Support and Chaplain's Teams. Jon is the host of The Fire Inside Podcast, a weekly show dedicated to the mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of the first responder community. Jon also serves as the Lead Pastor of The RESCUE Church, a non-denominational church with multiple locations in rural communities in South Dakota, Illinois, and Jamaica. He has been married to his wife Jessica for 22 years.
39 minutes | Dec 7, 2018
Stay Fit For Duty
Join my fellow mental heath among first responders advocate James Boomhower and I as we continue our discussion on this ever so important topic. ames Boomhower, BS, FP-C, NR-P, C-NPT has been involved in EMS for nearly 15 years in a variety of health systems throughout New England. He currently functions in the role of Critical Care Transport Specialist-Paramedic and Peer Support Director with Boston Medflight of Bedford, Massachusetts. James is also a Peer Supporter for the ECHO FAST team and lead instructor for Distance CME’s online continuing education program. James is working to realize his goal of promoting recognition, management and acceptance of acute stress in EMS providers throughout the world.
48 minutes | Nov 28, 2018
Code 4 Northwest
Join Steve Redmond, founder of Code 4 Northwest, and I as we discuss wellness and supporting first responders, especially when they are not on the job. Steve started his law enforcement career as a Spokane Police Reserve Officer in 1989. In 1992, he was hired by Seattle PD as a full-time sworn officer. During his career with Seattle, Officer Redmond has worked as a patrol officer, mountain bike officer, field-training officer, DUI officer, traffic officer, motorcycle officer and is currently assigned as the department’s safety officer. Steve has been with Seattle PD for over 26 years. IN 2013, Steve created a crisis line for first responders, EMS, corrections, nurses, and their family members that covers the State of Washington along with parts of Idaho and Oregon. Steve has had opportunity to present at many conferences around the country, as well as police and fire departments around the region. Steve’s presentation offers his unique perspective on SURVIVING THE JOB, surviving personal crisis, and surviving family crisis. This perspective is based on his personal journey through his own crisis, the chaos it causes, as well as his experience in assisting over 3000 individuals and families deal with their own personal crisis such as addiction, secondary trauma, PTSD, depression, stress and more. http://www.code4nw.org/
39 minutes | Nov 16, 2018
True Peer Support and More
Join the CEO of our sponsor, Joe Gorton as he guest hosts the show today. We are fortunate to be joined by Salt Lake City firefighter Evan Fitzgerald. Evan is doing some amazing work with peer support and this is one conversation you don't want to miss!! My name is Evan Fitzgerald, I also go by the nickname Fitz. I currently work full time for Salt Lake City Fire Department, and part time at North View Fire District as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. Establishing and managing programs that support Frontline Athlete wellness is my passion. After working six years as a health and wellness coordinator, I have motivated changes that have made a positive impact throughout the state of Utah. With the help of awesome mentors, I developed the Firefighter Fitness Coordinator Certification curriculum, which the Salt Lake City Fire Department currently uses.I began building a powerful respect for the Frontline Community the day after I turned 7, when Firefighters and Paramedics responded to my farm house. As my brothers and I waited to be taken to school, a tractor accident instantly took the life of my Dad. After the Firefighters explained that nothing could be done, my older brother immediately began punching one of the crew members pleading for him to fight for our Father’s life. I spent the next 10 years analyzing the meaning of that day. I began to understand how honorable it was for those Firefighters to respond to the chaos of my worst day. At the age of 17 I was given a “paid on call” position at the Mountain Green Fire Department, beginning my career as a Firefighter. I then became an EMT and soon after became a Paramedic. After another 10 years of responding to the homes of devastated grieving families, I felt the burden carried by the Firefighter who, years earlier, allowed my brother to hit him and who also listened to the plea of my broken family. The compounding weight of exposures to trauma, sleep deprivation, and constant stress caused me to buckle. These experiences sent me searching for ways to support the wellbeing of First Responders after hearing and seeing similar struggles in fellow Firefighters.As I began formulating an understanding of Frontline wellness issues, I searched out the specified certifications that would support my pursuit. I earned my Tactical Strength and Conditioning Facilitator certification through the National Strength and Conditioning Association as well as my Peer Fitness Trainer certification through the International Association of Firefighters. In furthering my understanding, I consumed any relevant research that I could. I found that fire departments not only needed the information that I discovered, they also need systems to incorporate the practical application of that information. Developing an implementation strategy was the next step so I took what I learned to the respected individuals in my Department and they helped me figure out the best way to present this information to the Administration and Union, who eventually gave their support. Using evidence-based information as the framework, I developed a holistic wellness system. I put this system in a 700-page text that has been reviewed by experts in Nutrition, Psychology, Exercise Science, and sleep medicine. It’s used as the main resource for our “Fit to Respond / Fit to Retire” certification. To bring all Frontline members together in this wellness effort, I developed a competition called the “Frontline Throwdown”, which is a yearly event held at the Utah Fitcon. This event allows teams from Military, Police and Fire groups to use their tactical fitness in a non-emergency event as well as provide a wellness training platform which is expanding this year to include 12 hours of training. My success isn’t mine alone, not only have I had exceptional mentors, I also have an amazingly supportive family. My wife Sarah has assisted me with Firefighter spouse trainings. She’s patient with my long work days, and she definitely takes on more than her fair share of responsibility around the house. When I’m not at work I love spending time with her and our three boys. We enjoy traveling, swimming, Flowrider surfing, indoor skydiving, skateboarding, and boating. Each of my boys ages 9, 5, and 3 are awesome and contribute in their own way. The main drive behind my work is to give my family a living example of the value within the struggle to find meaning in chaos, and then managing the responsibility of that uncovered potential.
41 minutes | Nov 9, 2018
Societal Perceptions WIth The EMS Siren
Join the well respected Blogger, Educator, and EMS Provider Amy Eisenhauer and I as we discuss the societal perceptions of substance abuse and mental health in the EMS world. Amy Eisenhauer is a dynamic presenter at Emergency Medical Services (EMS) conferences nationwide, raising awareness on topics such as provider suicide, response to hoarding events, and career development for EMS professionals. As a Certified Emergency Medical Technician, she has served the New Jersey Emergency Medical Services community as a volunteer and career provider since 1995. In addition to providing high quality medical care, Amy has taken on challenging roles as an EMS educator and training officer. Most notably, Amy is a contributing author for EMS World magazine and also hosts an interactive blog on EMS at TheEMSsiren.com, committed to improving the EMS community as a whole. https://theemssiren.com/
42 minutes | Oct 26, 2018
Wellness - First Responder Conferences
Join married Sheriff Deputies Shawn and Jeff Thomas and I as we discuss mental health, peer support, and wellness amongst first responders. They created First Responder Conferences and have been gaining momentum since its inception in 2016. Shawn Thomas has been a deputy for the King County Sheriff’s Office in Seattle, WA for 21 years. She is married to a deputy and has two teenage boys. She currently is an explosive detection K9 handler and is a team leader for her peer support team. Shawn also volunteers with two non-profit organizations, Code 4 NW and Blue H.E.L.P.Jeff Thomas is a 30 year veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Office, which includes an 18 year stint as a member of the entry unit on the county SWAT team. Jeff has held several training positions within the sheriff’s office to include Field Training Officer, Firearms Instructor, State qualified Swat instructor, Motor Instructor, as well as a Taser Instructor. He also was a member of the King County Honor Guard for 16 years. He is co-founder of First Responder Conferences, along with his wife, Deputy Shawn Thomas.In 2016 Shawn and Jeff founded 1st Responder Conferences and organized their first health and wellness conference in Seattle for first responders and their families. The reason for the conference was to focus on first responder's mental health and wellness and to convey three things.1. You are not alone2. Reach out for help if you are struggling3. To provide confidential resources for first responders to get the help they need.The conference was well received and first responders reached out for help. It was clear that this type of event needed to continue to help others. Shawn and Jeff were asked by other agencies to bring the conference to other states, so they did.In two short year's they have organized 10 mental health and wellness conferences around the country and have 6 upcoming conferences scheduled. 1st Responder Conferences' partners with Code 4 NW and Blue H.E.L.P. Together these three organizations are working together and helping first responders and their families all over the country.1st Responder Conferences is committed to the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of the public safety work force and work with leaders in the public safety profession to make this possible. We recognize that first responders are our greatest asset and we feel it is our responsibility to create a climate that supports good health and resiliency. We are dedicated to promoting awareness surrounding the difficulties of public safety professionals and inspiring conversations that minimize the stigma associated with the stresses our first responder's experience. Through our conferences' we provide education and resources for agencies, individuals, and family members who find themselves faced with a personal crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for all of those who dedicate themselves to protecting and serving others.http://www.1stresponderconferences.org/
34 minutes | Oct 16, 2018
Brandon Dreiman- Firefighter, Mental Health Advocate
Join Indianapolis firefighter Bandon Dreiman and and I as we discuss the state of mental health for first responders and all of the work being done to break down the walls of stigma.Brandon Dreiman, JD, EMT-P, is a 17-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department where he serves as the Coordinator for the IFD Peer Support Program. He is also an IAFF Peer Support Master Instructor and travels the United States and Canada lecturing on behavioral health topics and assisting fire departments with creating peer support te
37 minutes | Oct 4, 2018
The Psychology of Super Heroes
Join the leaders at this show's sponsor, Stepstone Connect, as we discuss the psychology of super heroes. Such a deep and fascinating conversation about the parallels between fictional super heoes like Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk and real life heroes such as fireman and cops. These two professionals certainly left me with a deeper understanidng of mental illness, coping mechanisms, and treatment of trauma. You don't wanna miss this one!!!
40 minutes | Sep 27, 2018
Hot Topic- Narcissism
Join Kristin Walker, CEO of The Mental Health News Radio Network, and I as we discuss the topic of narcissism. Every day my social media news feed is filled with articles and content related to this topic so I figured we would change it up and discuss this buzz worthy term and explore its meaning and origins.
22 minutes | Sep 13, 2018
Join Doug and Karen Monda as we discuss their story and the foundation they created, Survive First.Doug is the Founder of Survive First, Inc. and has a long standing history in law enforcement. He retired from law enforcement as an undercover narcotics agent with the Cocoa Police Department, a city in Brevard County, Florida in 2017. He began his career in public safety in 2001. In his second year of service, Doug joined the S.W.A.T. team, and subsequently attended Marine Scout Sniper Training, earning his certification with Blackwater. He spent 15 years on the Cocoa Police Department S.W.A.T. team. During his service on S.W.A.T., his experience as a sniper and team leader played a critical role in the safety of teammates and success of countless missions. During his career he has also worked with agencies consisting of D.E.A., F.B.I., ATF, Border Patrol, U.S. Marshalls Office, Department of Homeland Security and NASA.Doug’s training has earned him extraordinary success in the field. Recently, he was named 2016 Officer of the Year. Additionally, throughout his career, he earned many other awards for his hard work and dedication to the City of Cocoa.In 2013, Doug’s own mental health became impacted from his long career in law enforcement. His own experience with treatment for PTSD, depression, and attempted suicide was the catalyst that drove the founding of Survive First Foundation. Doug is now a national keynote speaker. He speaks on the impacts of a first responders job on mental health and family. His mission is to spread awareness of PTSD, depression, and suicide in first responders, hoping to break the stigma, so that help may be received before it is too late. In his spare time, Doug enjoys spending time with his family, surfing and competing in the sport of triathlon. he has competed in the national and world championships and is a four-time Ironman triathlon finisher. Doug was a former professional soccer player and coached several teams for the YMCA, as well as youth and high school soccer teams. He currently serves as a board member for the YMCA of Cocoa and chairs their Youth Scholarship Fund. As a member of the Board of Directors for Survive First, Doug helps set the strategic goals and objectives for the foundation.Karen is the wife of Survive First Foundation’s founder, Douglas Monda, and a proud step mother of five. She received both her Master of Arts degree and Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Communicative Disorders, from the University of Central Florida. Karen has a long history of fundraising for national and global non-profit organizations, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, The Florida Wildlife Hospital, the Humane Society of the United Stated, and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. She has a long-standing passion for helping others in need and currently co-chairs the YMCA of Cocoa Youth Scholarship Fund.Karen’s personal experience as a law enforcement spouse, who has fought alongside her husband to win the battle over depression, PTSD, and attempted suicide, has been the drive behind her passion for Survive First Foundation and ensuring that all first responders and their families receive the support and treatment they need when mental health becomes a daily struggle. In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time on the beach with her family. She maintains a healthy lifestyle by running. Karen enjoys running the marathon distance, and has been honored to qualify for and run the Boston Marathon. She believes in physical fitness as a catalyst for a healthy and happy life and encourages people to find a physical activity they can enjoy.Karen oversees all communications and media content for Survive First Foundation. She also coordinates and plans fundraising events and drives for the foundation. As a member of the Board of Directors, Karen helps set the strategic goals and objectives for the foundation
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