As the nation continues to grapple with COVID-19, there is growing concern that the mental health impact from COVID may be the next pandemic. Increased stress and anxiety, combined with existing mental health injuries, can have deadly results—particularly for Veterans. With reports of military suicides increasing by as much as 20% in 2020, local first responders are raising awareness about the mental health crisis by participating in the Home Base No Shave campaign in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program.
Police officers from Auburn have pledged a $100 donation to either forego the traditional grooming policy and grow beards and mustaches or wear special Home Base No Shave neck gaiter or face mask throughout the month of November. Thanks to the generous support of our police officers and others from across a grateful nation, Home Base is able to provide world class clinical care at no cost to our Veterans and Military Families impacted by the invisible wounds.
The movement is spearheaded by MBTA Transit Police and Boston Gang Unit Detective Kurt Power, a U.S. Army Veteran and Purple Heart recipient who sought care for his own invisible wounds at Home Base. “The only wish I have is that we give the gift of hope, hope to all the veterans that don’t believe reintegration is possible. Hope to the approximately 20 veterans a day that may give up tomorrow,” Power says. “If I can convince just one person who needs help to listen to me and put their trust in the treatment at Home Base, this will all be worth it.”
This month, first responders at Auburn Police Department will go beyond the badge to not only help raise money for a program that is changing the lives of Veterans and their Families, but to evoke conversation, raise awareness and break the stigma associated with getting care.
“I think the biggest part about this campaign is the demonstration of support by communities from across New England and the country,” said Home Base Executive Director Brigadier General (USA ret.) Jack Hammond. “It goes well beyond ‘thank you for your service’ – it’s something tangible people are doing to show them that they care. At Home Base, we offer some of the best care in the United States, so with all of these departments reaching out into these communities, they are bound to know someone who needs help and connect them to us. Every time they do that, they are saving a life.”
To date, the Home Base No Shave campaign, benefiting Home Base, has raised $800,000 and engaged more than 2,500 first responders and supporters from over 136 towns across the country. Auburn Police Department has a goal to make an impact and are asking community members, business owners and family members to join the cause and donate to their page.
To support Auburn Police Department’s No Shave fundraising efforts, click here.
For more information about Home Base No Shave and list of participating departments, click here.