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Fundraising Campaign to Support Coast Guard Member Resilience

Triple-matching gift challenge will fund suicide prevention and other mental resiliency programs.
Coast Guard member with helicopter in the background
Ron labrec web v
by Ron LaBrec
August 8, 2023

The men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard are the best of the best... true American heroes. But inside, they’re human and not immune to the tremendous stress that often comes with their military service. You may know that suicide is a serious problem in the U.S. Armed Forces. And the Coast Guard is not exempt. In fact, in 2022 Coast Guard members died from suicide at twice the rate of their peers in the other military services.

Coast Guard jobs can be intense and challenging. On any given day, members can experience the triumph of saving a life...and the tragedy of seeing lives lost. No matter how well they’ve performed, some may feel like their mission has been a failure.

Over time, the stress piles up. It can lead to depression, anxiety, strained relationships, issues with alcohol... and even thoughts of ending their lives. Many members simply don’t ask for help. Others feel they cannot admit they are struggling.

A Coast Guard helicopter hovering over roiling surf hosting a rescue swimmer.
A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, practices surf search and rescue new Haleiwa, Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Research suggests that rates of traumatic stress among Coast Guard members serving at rescue stations are comparable to those of DOD members after a combat deployment. Other research has found that first responders suffer from depression and PTSD at a rate of up to five times higher than the general public.

To help Coast Guard members when they need rescuing, the Coast Guard Foundation is expanding its mental resiliency programs. We’ve kicked off a $500,000 campaign to SAVE LIVES by providing mental resiliency services to Coast Guard members nationwide. This sizable goal is supported by a matching gift challenge from donors Dick and Annette Symons and the PenFed Foundation. Gifts made during the campaign will be tripled — up to $150,000.

Help save lives with your generous gift today

Funds raised during the campaign will support:

  • The Coast Guard Chaplain Program, which delivers resiliency resources in addition to spiritual counsel.
  • Shipmate Support Peer Training. Shipmate Support Peers receive training in ASIST, a suicide prevention and intervention training system.
  • Resiliency Workshops that build emotional, mental and physical resilience to help members face the unique challenges that come with their service.
  • Couples Retreats that allow Coast Guard members and spouses to build stronger relationships.
  • Morale and Wellness Initiatives to keep members ready for their assignments and maintain their physical and mental well-being while at sea or stationed in remote areas.
Coast Guard members spend months at sea or deployed away from home. They’re separated from loved ones and work long hours in their service to the nation. Many Coast Guard members are young, living far from home for the first time. We can’t wait until they send their own “Mayday” call. We must provide the tools and resources they need now.
- Susan Ludwig, president, Coast Guard Foundation

Title Image: A boat crew member from Coast Guard Station New Orleans prepares to conduct search and rescue hoist training with a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans helicopter (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Are you or someone you know in crisis?
You are not alone and help is available. Call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988

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