The Foundation is concerned with the mental health of emergency workers, both from direct impacts of traumatic stress and ripple effects that destroy health, lives and families. It serves through peers-helping-peers in 12 states and growing to restore hope and healing to firemen, policemen, EMS, emergency room workers and veterans, including vital support for spouses and children.
The Birdwell Foundation just published their most recent live support numbers. In August 2020 they helped 4283 Veterans and First Responders one-on-one and 1036 in support groups. July 2020’s numbers were 4969 and 1114, respectively. Arms are open to New Yorkers.
New York’s post-9/11 death statistics are tragic, and the numbers are growing.
- Over the past 18 years, 241 policemen have died from 9/11-related physical illnesses, 10 times the number killed in the actual terrorist attack. More are ill now.
- 22 firefighters have died from 9/11-related illnesses just since the last anniversary, bringing the total to 202 deaths to date from illnesses related to 9/11 service.
The most common killer among these post-9/11 deaths is cancer. But cardiovascular disease has also been a factor. Research recently published in JAMA reveals the first firefighters on the scene at the World Trade Center had a 44% higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those who were on the scene the next day.
There are few statistics on the mental health impacts of the horrendous 9/11 attack and the well-established mind-body connection’s interplay with these diseases. But research has proven trauma and stress to be root causes of many chronic illnesses, especially some cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Birdwell addresses this root cause. The impact of immune suppression from trauma combined with environmental toxicity and hypertension from stress, aggravated by continuing PTSD, creates a fertile ground for both cancer and heart disease as well as depression, substance abuse and suicide. The number of emergency worker victims of these other devastating after-effects is unknown but suspected to be high.
The dramatic tragedy in New York calls attention to the plight of hordes of First Responders and other emergency workers across the nation as they struggle with chronic illness and PTSD caused by emergencies, gruesome tragedies and deaths they face every day. Often overlooked is the severe PTSD that can develop from the cumulative effects of numbers of such events experienced over time.
PTSD sufferers can be found in firehouses, police stations, call centers, EMS vehicles and emergency rooms in every community. Without effective intervention and support, they are at high risk of crumbling lives, greater health issues, devastated families and suicide.
Emergency workers are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than other people according to a 2015 national survey of 4,022 police officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and firefighters. Over 6% of those surveyed had attempted to take their lives.
But all too often, they proudly dismiss their symptoms until it’s too late. And no one hears their silent cry … except perhaps their spouse or, if they will call, the Birdwell Foundation.
The Birdwell Foundation helps First Responders find restoration and healing from the invisible scars of trauma. It helps them learn how to continue a healthy and loving relationship with their families. And it helps their spouses and children understand, cope and heal.
Whether it’s from 9/11 or other events, the need is real. But so is the PTSD help. No one heals alone. Get more information on www.BirdwellFoundation.org.
About The Foundation:
The Birdwell Foundation is a Houston, Texas-based non-profit organization founded to serve Veterans and First Responders suffering from PTSD. The Foundation provides one-on-one and group healing sessions, public education about PTSD, and operates a state-of-the-art facility in North Georgia where Veterans and First Responders can stay for a time to find restoration and healing from the invisible scars of trauma and learn how to continue a healthy and loving relationship with their families. It operates through Veterans and First Responders who found their way out of the darkness, broke free from the bondage of PTSD, and are now boots-on-the-ground assisting fellow brothers and sisters through life issues caused by PTSD.