First H.E.L.P., Inc.

Honor. Educate. Lead. Prevent.

aka Blue H.E.L.P., Red H.E.L.P., White H.E.L.P., Gold H.E.L.P.   |   Auburn, MA   |  www.1sthelp.org

Mission

It is the mission of First H.E.L.P. to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers we lost to suicide, assist officers in their search for healing, and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.

Ruling year info

2017

President

Jeffrey McGill

Treasurer

Karen Solomon

Main address

Po Box 539

Auburn, MA 01501 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Blue H.E.L.P., Inc.

EIN

82-1711537

NTEE code info

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (F01)

Emergency Assistance (Food, Clothing, Cash) (P60)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Before Blue H.E.L.P was formed, the original idea for the organization was to include all first responder disciplines. There was a gap in efforts to gather data, and honor those who had served their community honorably but had been denied respect because they died by suicide. Ultimately the founders decided the undertaking was just too large as we all worked full time jobs, so we chose to start our focus on law enforcement. Throughout the years we have had contact with professionals from every first responder discipline and their families asking if we would do the same for their fields. Now we can answer…yes.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Honor Boxes

Comfort, it can be a kind word or a small gesture. Immediately after a suicide we offer comfort through an Honor Box; care packages sent to the families and the departments. These boxes are shipped with a personal condolence card from another family who has suffered the same loss. It’s our way of letting them know they are not alone. Families also receive a blanket with their loved ones name embroidered on it.

Population(s) Served

This camp is the first ever to provide an all expense paid event for children who lost a first responder to suicide. They are brought together to bond and heal with others suffering the same loss. Camp April is named after the widow of Officer Max Scherzer, April’s courage and resilience are a daily inspiration to the First H.E.L.P. team. Max was unable to seek the help he needed and lost his battle on August 21, 2016. Since his death, April has been left alone to raise her then four-month-old twins with few financial benefits or support. The significance of April’s name should not be lost on anyone – April showers bring May flowers – this camp will help plant the seeds of hope for the children who have been left to deal with this tragedy.

Population(s) Served
Families
Emergency responders

The First H.E.L.P. #ResponderReadiness Workshop Series offers insight into the mindset of first responders, the common mental tools used to ensure high performance when facing extreme stress, and how those same tools can be detrimental to physical and mental health when functioning outside a high-risk environment. The program consists of four student focused courses designed to develop the knowledge and understanding of the learner. Some sections of these courses will enable the learner to apply skills introduced during the lesson plan.

Population(s) Served
Emergency responders
Military personnel

First H.E.L.P. is the only organization in the country which collects suicide information for first responders year over year. We also have an interactive dashboard which hosts real time information.

Population(s) Served
Families
Adults
Families
Adults
Emergency responders

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of suicides reported within 7 days of incidence.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Emergency responders

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of care packages delivered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Honor Boxes

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Packages are sent to families as their mailing address is provided.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

It is the mission of First H.E.L.P. to reduce mental health stigma through education, advocate for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, acknowledge the service and sacrifice of first responders we lost to suicide, support families after a suicide and to bring awareness to suicide and mental health issues.

The objective of First H.E.L.P. is to save lives and honor the service of those we can't save. Death by suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for first responders in the United States. Our goal is to help end the stigma associated with mental health and psychological injuries so first responders will seek the necessary help they to heal and recover. First H.E.L.P is also working to end the stigma so a first responder will seek help without fear of reprisal or rejection from their departments and peers. Seeking help from a mental health professional is not a sign of weakness but should be viewed the same as someone seeking help for a physical injury such as broken arm or a gunshot wound. First responders should not be seen as impermeable to the trauma they can regularly encounter on the job. First responders are people with an incredibly challenging job, the trauma they encounter is cumulative. Too many first responders get depressed and rather than seek help, they turn to self-destructive behavior which can lead to depression and sometimes, suicide.

First H.E.L.P. conspicuously honors and remembers first responders who died by suicide. We honor how they lived, not how they died. Too often our condolences are the only acknowledgement honoring the service of that fallen responder.

We provide all expense paid retreats, college scholarships, free training and more for at risk first responders and their families. We send customized care packages called "Honor Boxes" to each family upon hearing of a responder’s death by suicide. It is our belief that their service was honorable and should be recognized. The stigma of mental health injuries is so powerful that many departments do not bestow any burial honors for their responders who die by suicide. This rejection compounds the misery and hopelessness of the survivors and further perpetrating the stigma. Most responders we have lost to suicide have surviving children and they continue to suffer, and many lose hope due to their parents' means of death and questioning the causes. When these families reach out to the existing national resources for first responder survivors for help, they are either met with silence or flatly turned away because their responder died by suicide.

2020 PROGRESS

FAMILY SUPPORT
To support families and departments who lost an officer to suicide this year, Blue H.E.L.P. shipped more than 200 Honor Boxes with personalized blankets. And while social distancing meant we couldn’t always meet in person, our Blue H.E.L.P. families met online to discuss challenges and offer each other support. Over the holidays, we hosted a Zoom Christmas dinner, with meals provided free to our families; and we surprised them with a Christmas ornament to honor their loved ones. Many thanks go to the Motorola Solutions Foundation, which awarded Blue H.E.L.P. $50,000—for the second year in a row—to host family retreats in 2021 for those who lost an officer to suicide.

DEPARTMENT SUPPORT
Blue H.E.L.P. launched the Blue H.E.L.P. app to make it easier to submit suicides to us; and launched the #IWILLLISTEN campaign, which calls upon law enforcement to be open about issues of mental health. Blue H.E.L.P. also partnered with Motorola and the Gary Sinise Foundation to ship COVID-shutdown care packages of coffee, personal protective equipment, and mental health resources and materials to police departments and corrections facilities in March and April; packages were sent to 692 departments in the U.S. and the two departments in Canada that requested them.

EVENTS AND OUTREACH
When Police Week 2020 was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Blue H.E.L.P. quickly pivoted to offer virtual events, including a comedy show with Vinnie Montez and a live concert with David Bray, USA. Blue H.E.L.P.’s Karen Solomon and family members travelled to Los Angeles to film an episode of the Dr. Phil show focused on law enforcement suicide; Blue H.E.L.P.’s Steve Hough made a guest appearance on Oliver North’s Real American Heroes.

ADVOCACY
President Trump signed an executive order to establish the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice—the first commission on law enforcement in a half century. At the commission’s hearing on officer safety and wellness, Blue H.E.L.P. advocated for suicide awareness and support for those we serve. In 2019, we had September 26 officially registered as law enforcement suicide awareness day and it is now an annual event. Many governors issued proclamations to make it an official day in their state. In addition, in 2020 Blue H.E.L.P. endorsed legislation to: encourage mental health support and protect the privacy of law enforcement and first responders; ensure confidentiality of peer support counseling programs for law enforcement officers; authorize safety officer death benefits to officers suffering from PTSD and suicide; and enforce the law enforcement suicide date collection bill, which was signed into law in June. Blue H.E.L.P. also participated in a two-year National Officer Safety Initiative, the National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

First H.E.L.P., Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

First H.E.L.P., Inc.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jeffrey McGill

Jeffrey McGill

Sharonda Calderon

Steve Hough

Joe Willis

Karen Solomon

Rod Rifredi

Rob Winner

Robyn Mikel

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/31/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data