Our mission is to bring continued awareness to the high rates of suicides among our first responders due to the trauma and emotional stress they experience on a daily basis. It is our goal to do our part to help our first responders decompress and reduce the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress by providing support, education, and using our resiliency program, which includes scuba diving.
WHO WE ARE
Dive Guardians is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit consisting of First Responders and Military Veterans who wish to give back to our fellow brothers and sisters who have been there, done that, or are still out there day after day fighting the good fight. We are also dive professionals and dive enthusiasts who have experienced, first hand, the healing benefits of SCUBA Diving.
I guess this all started in 2015 when I began working with disabled veterans and using SCUBA diving and the therapeutic effects of water to help them with both their physical and mental injuries. You see, I have been a SCUBA diver for many years and know, first hand, of those therapeutic effects.
Well, in addition to being a Military Veteran, I am also a 25-year veteran of Law Enforcement. During my long career as a First Responder, I witnessed the negative effects that experiencing repeated traumatic events over a career has on a First Responder. I have seen many brothers and sisters develop drug and alcohol problems, become both suspects and victims of domestic violence, and suffer from depression. I also know more than one First Responder who have chosen to take their life due to depression and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). Then, in 2016, a fellow First Responder and friend, took his life leaving behind a wife, three children, and a grandchild.
I thought about my friend a lot after it happened and tried to make sense of what he did and wished there was some way I could have maybe intervened and helped him before he chose to take his life. The problem was, I had no idea he was going through this as he kept it to himself. As I began to search for organizations designed specifically to help our First Responders, I realized there were not too many. Thankfully, there are many organizations out there designed to help our war heroes and military veterans. But what I discovered, was people often didn’t realize that First Responders also develop and experience PTS, Anxiety, and have a wide array of physical disabilities. So, in March, 2018, Dive Guardians was born.
WHY WE ARE HERE
There are so many wonderful organizations in existence that help our war heroes and military veterans but far less specifically helping our First Responders who have also experienced traumatic events other than military combat.
As a profession, First Responders are already at an increased risk of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSd), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), General Anxiety disorder (GAd), and an array of physical injuries. This is based on their physically demanding jobs and the increased chances of being exposed to a variety of traumatic events, ranging from officer involved shootings, homicides, having to respond to traffic fatalities, and fighting fires. Often these experiences leave them with both physical injuries and emotional scars. Those who have experienced these traumatic events often have nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb. SCUBA diving has been proven to be ideal in helping people rehabilitate from some of those physical injuries and emotional scars.