Statistics surrounding first responders' mental and emotional well-being are understated and underreported but continue to be damning.
According to a 2020 article published by Dr. Holly Kennedy-Hansen, as well as data from a 2021 study concerning first responder mental health and wellness:
85% of first responders say they have experienced symptoms related to mental health conditions.
57% fear negative repercussions for seeking treatment.
40% fear being demoted or fired for seeking treatment.
70% of first responders say mental health services are seldom or never utilized.
First Responders are 5x more likely to experience depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Police officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
Evidence suggests that peer-focused interventions may be preferred to other forms of interventions in high-risk occupations.
Answering the Call
AAFRF knows that we are creating a safer and better-served community and society by supporting this critical population. With your support, we can offer these free programs:
First Responder & Friends Peer Group:
These gatherings are facilitated by Foundation members and utilize nonintrusive creative prompts to encourage conversation. Come as you are; the goal is to provide an un-judged yet safe space for expression.
First Responder & Friends Creative Outlet:
These gatherings are facilitated by Foundation members and utilize original, nonintrusive creative prompts to guide “intuitive painting and writing” while reinforcing a “process over product” outcome. Come as you are; the goal is to model another way to process the everyday stressors that first responders and their loved ones face.
Our goal is to serve first responders across the United States. Our resources and events are currently dedicated to our local communities of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.