Celebration of Heroes Donates $100K to Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, Joining Forces to Launch the Health Heroes Support Group Program
June 8, 2022
IRVINE, Calif., June 8, 2022 – The Orange County, California-based Celebration of Heroes is joining forces with Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, the nation’s premier suicide prevention center and leading provider of whole-person mental health and suicide-specialized care, to provide counseling and support for local healthcare workers on the frontline that have suffered and sacrificed their wellbeing throughout the pandemic.
The launch of the Health Heroes Support Group Program was announced at the Celebration Gala Dinner of Heroes by event co-founder Douglas Freeman, Didi Hirsch’s CEO Jonathan Goldfinger, MD, MPH, FAAP, and Didi Hirsch Board of Directors Executive Vice-Chair Melissa Rivers, an actress and suicide prevention advocate, on Saturday, April 30, at the Westin Anaheim Resort. The evening’s honorees included the scientists who discovered, developed, and deployed lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, and everyday heroes making a difference in their communities.
Freeman announced the $100K donation. The surplus funds raised from sponsors of the Celebration Gala will be used to promote and deliver virtual support groups and counseling to healthcare workers across Orange County, ensuring those charged with taking care of others have the support they need to remain resilient and effective.
Didi Hirsch experts recently developed a trauma-informed support group for frontline health workers and first responders to address their well-being, whose mental health has largely been neglected. In 2020, a study by Mental Health America found that 93 percent of healthcare workers are experiencing stress, 86 percent anxiety, and 76 percent exhaustion and burnout. In addition, 75 percent of health workers have been overwhelmed these past few years—experts agree the Covid-19 pandemic is a setup for health worker suicide. With these alarming statistics, resources and funding are critically needed. The Health Heroes Support Group Program will deliver virtual support groups and counseling across Orange County.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly rough on our healthcare workers, who bravely stepped into the breach at risk to their health and their families to help those afflicted with the disease,” said Douglas Freeman, co-founder of Celebration of Heroes. “The resulting stress, anxiety, fear, and other strong reactions often severely taxed their mental well-being. Our alliance with Didi Hirsch will enable them to receive the help they need and also cement a legacy for the Celebration. We are indebted to our generous sponsors for helping to make this initiative a reality.”
“Supporting our health heroes has never been more critical, as over half of physicians know a peer who considered, attempted, or died by suicide,” said Dr. Goldfinger. “As we celebrate 80 years of service, Didi Hirsch is constantly innovating to provide immediate support to those in need. Through this partnership with Celebration of Heroes, the Health Heroes Support Group will make a real difference in the lives of these deserving members of our community when they need it the most.”
The licensed clinicians at Didi Hirsch Crisis Counseling will help healthcare heroes cope, enhance resilience and develop strategies to keep themselves safe. Licensed clinicians will also provide individual and family teletherapy to health care professionals struggling with depression, anxiety, severe stress and/or suicidal thoughts, attempts, or loss.
For more information, visit didihirsch.org/healthheroes as well as celebrationofheroes.com.
About Celebration of Heroes
The Celebration of Heroes is the brainchild of two longtime Orange County philanthropists, Douglas Freeman, who along with President Ronald Reagan, created National Philanthropy Day, and Charlie Zhang, a naturalized U.S citizen who escaped nearly penniless from communist China at age 24 and went on to create several multi-million-dollar businesses. They created the Celebration to honor scientists who discovered, developed, and deployed lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines and everyday heroes nominated by the public who made a difference during the pandemic. The Celebration culminated in April 2022 with an unprecedented press conference and a public panel discussion with the scientists at the Beckman Center of the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering on UCI Campus, Irvine and a gala at the Westin Anaheim Resort attended by nearly 600 guests.Charitable Ventures of Orange County (www.charitableventuresoc.org), a nonprofit public benefit corporation organized under Internal Revenue Code 501c3 and 509a2 serves as the Celebration’s fiscal sponsor. For more information, visit www.celebrationofheroes.com.
About Didi Hirsch
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services has been a national leader in whole-person mental health and crisis care for 80 years. Its first-in-the-nation Suicide Prevention Center operates multiple English/Spanish hotlines 24/7, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline becoming 988 in July 2022, the national Disaster Distress Helpline for those suffering emotionally from natural or manmade disasters, a new line diverting 911 calls from the LAPD disproportionately connecting Black and Latinx young men to care, as well as Teen Line and LAUSD line. Didi Hirsch’s highly specialized experts also provide outpatient therapy and medication management, crisis counseling and support groups for people with suicidal thoughts, attempts, or loss, as well as suicide prevention training for students, teachers, clergy, police, and first responders. Didi Hirsch serves over 165,000 children, adults, and families each year through 10 facilities and nearly 100 schools across Los Angeles and Orange counties. Learn more today at www.didihirsch.org.
Dora H. Nuñez
Director of Marketing and Communications
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services