The On Guard Initiative is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention among correction officers and to foster a community of support and appreciation for the work they do.

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To Friends and Family of On Guard:

 

The past six years have been an amazing journey. We started this organization at 19 years old, after doing our research, talking to correctional staff, and hitting many road blocks along the way. It was the support and gratitude for what we were trying to do that gave us our motivation and against all odds, eventually we watched On Guard gain the respect and trust of correctional staff across the U.S. and beyond, and for that we are extremely proud.

 

Our mission from the very beginning was to start the conversation that it’s okay to talk about mental health, it’s okay to admit that you need help, and it’s okay to admit that you are struggling. That being said, we felt that it was necessary to be open with all of our supporters, volunteers, and every family member and correctional staff member that we’ve crossed paths with the past six years. We have struggled with finding the right words to say this but as Co-Founders, we want to be honest with the fact that this organization, while it has helped the grieving process, has become an extremely heavy weight on our hearts. A tragedy happened in 2011, with the suicide of Bryanna’s father, and reliving that day every single day, as many others with PTSD understand, is a difficult thing to endure. We are truly different people than we were six years ago, and a lot of it has to do with everything we’ve learned from our work with this organization and the incredible people we’ve encountered. Personally, we are both in a place where we feel it is time to take a break and work on making ourselves happy, healthy, and move on to a new chapter in our lives. So, as a team, we have decided that it is time to end our work with The On Guard Initiative.

 

While we are extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to help correctional staff, we feel that as an organization we have reached a point where we can no longer serve you in the best, most effective way possible. Our decision does not mean that the conversation stops. It is up to each and every one of us to continue the conversation about mental health. We have met some amazing people over the years and we hope that even though we will not be moving forward as an organization, you still feel comfortable reaching out to us if you ever need anything at all. We are still a family who lost a father, son, husband, brother, uncle, friend, to suicide, and will continue to advocate for good mental health and suicide prevention in the corrections field.

 

We would like to take a moment to thank our board members, both past and present for believing in our mission as much as we did and for all of your hard work. We would like to thank our friends and family for your love and support over the past 6 years Finally, we would like to thank all of you; our supporters, donors, sponsors and corrections community for your support over the past 6 years. Thank you for joining our conversation, running 5Ks in the rain year after year, for being open and honest and sharing our passion. As much as I wish my father was still here today, I know he would be proud of the work we have done and he would be proud of the progress we’ve made working with corrections, legislators, the community, and beyond.

 

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you. We hope that you all will continue to work for happy and healthy lives.

 

All Our Love,

The On Guard Initiative

Bryanna, Julie, and our Board of Directors