“Our community is large and wildly diverse, which is at the same time our strength and our weakness. #Activate10 is a movement seeking to increase communication between individuals and organizations across Fremont County and to promote positive action in our communities.”
(Riverton, WY) – First responder mental health is a top priority for former EMT and firefighter Heidi Haines, which is why she organized the Battle for Mental Health – First Responder’s Co-Ed Softball Tournament happening in Riverton June 23-25.
The tournament entry fee is $450; registration opens on April 1 and goes through May 31. It’s a 14-player roster, but you can only bat 12, and the minimum age is 16 with a signed waiver from a parent or guardian. This is open to anyone in the community who wants to participate.
Funds raised from the tournament are going to the Wyoming L.A.S.T. Team. Though details are still being worked out, Heidi hopes they will start a mental health initiative for first responders.
Her brother’s experience with PTSD after having a gun held on him by a stranded motorist while he was working a federal fire in Idaho inspired her to start this initiative.
Heidi was also raised in a family of first responders, along with being one herself. So, she understands the stressors that come with the job and their impact on your life.
She also noted she’s “tired of hearing people say, ‘well, this is what you signed up for. Get over it. If you can’t handle it, quit.'”
“We no longer can do that. Statistically, it’s not getting better. It’s getting worse. … Suicide in first responders is technically an epidemic.”
On average, 125 to 300 law enforcement officials commit suicide annually, she shared.
“I’m just trying to get this up so we can actually have something to better our first responders, so we don’t have to lose any more. So we don’t have to have any more unfortunate suicide line of duty deaths. I’m tired of being the first ones there. Everybody wants us there first, but who’s there for us?”
Additional details about the softball tournament can be found on the flyer below.